The Pool Hall - 1977
Here's my friend Ron. That L-1011 coasting overhead was pilfered by some Lockheed employee from the lobby of an office suite and delivered to my mom - in the dead of night - in gratitude for her long-standing support of all things Lockheed. (Her dispensing of free beer probably had something to do with the delivery, too.)
Because Mom was a retailer she had access to promotional beer signs, the kind of thing people have determined to be "collectable" these days. Just behind Ron's head you can see our rotating Falstaff sign - the rest of the pool hall had many other Coors, Hamms and Budweiser signs used as decor. (See the bottom of this page for an enumeration.) We didn't have any household pets like cats or dogs, but we played host to countless plastic Clydesdales. Nobody in the family drank beer, by the way. Dad had been an alcoholic when I was a little boy. An emergency trip to the hospital when he nearly died and a lengthy recovery reformed him into an ex-alcoholic.
As I recall, most of these signs had some sort of optical effect enabling bubbles to issue from the bottoms of icy glasses and waterfalls to flow realistically past verdant meadowlands. (The reality of beer drinking, of course, is quite different. Many was the time I used to wonder at customers carrying on drunkenly at our cafe. No visions of forests or mountain purity were invoked there!)
The picture on the wall illustrates the founding, heyday, abandonment and ultimate corruption of a Western Gold Rush town. We got it at a yard sale. What did it stylistically have in common with anything else in the room? Nothing. It did, however, have the same attraction some women have for some men: it was available. (One time, Mom bought a plastic lemon with plastic daisies growing out of it sideways at a yard sale. This item was placed on the table in the patio and, for a time, provided the lemon yellow color inspiration for the seat covers and other items in the room, not to mention Mom's collection of Jean Nate toiletries. Did the lemon yellow go with the avocado? No, but items of that color were available.)
A doll wrapped snugly in a blanket and seated on a bench looks on, wondering when Ron is going to make his shot.
The image is smeary because I was careless when I made the print. Either that or the Camp Pendleton Photo Shop used old, worn-out chemicals.
In the image above you can see my miniature liquor bottle collection; these ran the length of the pool hall on two shelves. They are safely out of the way of the butt-ends of cue sticks. We bought them over time on many trips to Las Vegas, and when Mom made it known she was selling the house and retiring, she had many requests from friends for the bottles. The people across the street - the ones who usually got our cast-off furniture - were the lucky recipients. You can note the tiny Chianti bottles hung from the shelf brackets for effect, and our cool old animated Blatz beer sign, the crown jewel of our beer sign collection.
Here's a shot of Ron in the opposite side of the pool hall, where the garage door was. Our tiny sliding glass window can be seen; I often wondered why we didn't put in a larger one as it got quite warm in that garage in summer. And cold in the winter. You can also see the Coors sign I mention above (verdant meadowlands, rushing waterfalls, etc.). Those chair tops are mock-ups of L-1011 seats Mom got from somebody at Lockheed. They were upholstered in a typical Seventies orange and rust color scheme. There were two problems with these seats: 1.) Due to the way they were constructed - they had to be fastened to a bulkhead on the side - they were unbalanced. Sitting in one without care would cause you to wind up on the floor. 2) They took up precious room in our cramped garage-turned-pool hall. You can see from this photo that if somebody were to take a shot from Ron's position while someone else was sitting in the L-1011 seats, a pool cue would put out an eye.