The Patio - July 1970

Is there anything on earth as awkward as a teenager?

Here I am, in complete and blissful ignorance of how skinny and malformed my body looks. If I'd had any idea I would have refused to have my picture taken! Long arms and legs, painfully narrow shoulders, total absence of any chest and a geeky haircut. Hairy legs, too, as I recall, and acne. Plaid swim trunks top off the look. I was 14 at the time; this was the summer between 8th and 9th grade - a painful time for anyone.

You'll notice the interior of the patio is turquoise enamel. Before we overdid avocado, turquoise was one of our chief colors, and we thought it especially apt for a patio. That green ornamental piece of plastic sheet was stuck there as an afterthought. I don't recall why we bought it, but having it, we figured it had to go someplace. The fact that it didn't go especially well with turquoise didn't matter. Just behind that green plastic sheet is a little white wooden enclosure for the water heater - it was a place I never really explored. Some scrap lumber and cardboard boxes can be seen. (We always had scrap lumber around, by the way, normally thrown about everywhere in the back yard.)

This photo was taken before Mom removed the screened area behind me and made a little alcove - it looked like a screened-in lean-to from the outside - for a gas barbeque and a refrigerator. Since the patio slab didn't extend that far she put down decorative white rocks and stepping stones as flooring, then made a bar between the main patio and the alcove. The bar stools she got at a yard sale. As I recall, I was the one and only person ever to sit at that bar (and I didn't drink).

If you look at the upper left hand corner of this photo you can see an extension cord suspended from the ceiling. Since the patio wasn't wired for electricity, this extension cord provided the electrical power for the workbench fluorescent lamp we had to light the patio at night.

The main reason I wanted to include this image, however, is to call your attention to the paint job on the patio floor. When Mom and I took an August 1968 vacation to meet her relatives in Boston, we left Dad with the run of the house. What a mistake. When we arrived home we discovered that he removed all the furniture from the patio and painted the slab black, with pastel green and blue areas that could be best described as vaguely kidney-shaped. He was quite proud of it and pronounced the floor "psychedelic." Mom hated it, and later, over his objections, painted the black part a dark green, which is the version you see in this photo.

The patio furnishings at the time were some maple captain's chairs that had seen service in the kitchen - you can see a part of one in the foreground.

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