Sunday, January 20, 2013

Home, An Object, & Three Voices

If objects could talk...
This one... would tell a tale, a dark tale... of a fair young maiden who thought nothing of happiness because she was happy and knew of little else.

Until... "One day the skies darkened with cloudbursts bearing bad news and torrential rains poured from her eyes washing away the solid ground from where she stood.

Drowning in doubt, she wondered if happiness existed beyond dreams and if yes, would it ever find her again.

For the source of her happiness, a castle that whispered only her name, was besieged and taken from her... forever.

Exiled, from the land and home she loved, without a prince, godmother, or good witch, magic wand, or lucky charms to come to her aid, this damsel, 'in distress', could do nothing but wait, and wait, for... her happy ending."

Truth is, fairytales are not my genre. I don't write fiction.

I write personal essays and this was... is... my life.

Just remove the medieval references, the part about the maiden, (I'm married), and travel several hundred years to modern day times and there you'll find me.

But I'm not the one telling the story... just yet.

If objects could talk...
Same object... different color and voice... the contemporary version.

"So... here's this married 'broad', not yet over the hill', forced from the luv of her life, her rented abode, of like a 'zillion' years, 'cause some big shot new owner wants to build like a 'Trump Tower' and flip it for big bucks.

The thing's still standin'... gutted... abandoned, like totally 'ghetto'... seven years later. Go figure. Both building and 'broad' are bummed... like smiley faces with their frowns upside down. Big time Boo Hoo.

Yadda, yadda, blah, blah and more blah.

Fast forward to... after years of checkin' out real estate and whining, and feeling like a 'guest' in her current 'crib', the 'cookie' has finally found and bought a place of her own. The 'moolah' laid out almost three years ago to the day. This could be 'the one'... the building of her dreams... the answers to her prayers... her happy ending, IF... her husband, 'Mr. Perfection', her knight in shining armor', ever gets movin' with the rehab. Puhleeze... in this lifetime, man. Do us all a favah.

Every now and then, I take a gander at this 'gal' pinchin' herself to see if the transaction she made was real or all in her noggin'. Poor kid. I say, Forget the pinchin'... close those peepers, click those tootsies together three times and repeat... "There's no place like home," and make like Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz. Maybe some funnel cloud will lift you up... poof!... and drop you into a 'flat' that's FINISHED, instead of the one you got now that's just a shell. I'm just tryin' ta help.

Tired and antsy, the 'Missus' waits, dreams, and occasionally shops.

That's where she found me... in JC Penney of all places.

People do shop at Penney, just not our little 'princess', who hasn't stepped foot in the place for over 30 years, after being 'dissed' once by customer service. Talk about principles!

Then Ron Johnson, hits the scene, the new hot shot, CEO or somethin', the one who made 'Apple' and that 'Genius Bar' a big thing in the retail biz... the guy who was VP of Target and is now runnin' the show at J.C.'s. He moved mountains and got our 'principled princess' back into his store. Turns out she likes his  'square deal' schtick and commercials.

Anyway... she honed in on me in Home Goods. It was luv at first sight. She laid down a 'fiver' and I was all hers... five bucks, a cheap date, in today's 'ekco-nom-ic' times.

Now, I 'chill' on her nightstand next to whos-its whats-its... you know who, Mr. Atomic somethin', her alarm clock. So me and 'the sweetie' wait. I wait for her next ah-choo, and she, for a home who knows her name and a life of happily evah aftas.

Ahh...whatta story...D End."

Not quite...

It's my turn...the one who publishes this blog.


Impulsively, I bought this tissue holder, Casa, the white one, by Umbra. He was quirky, attractive, symbolic of 'HOME', and the equivalent cost of a frozen yogurt from U-Swirl. You wouldn't know this, except for my few closest friends, but I give the objects I buy, both genders and names. In this case, 'Casa', the name that came with the product, was perfect... simplicity in a single word that means house.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd score 'Casa' a '10' for aesthetics and an '8' for function. The house fits loosely over a square box of tissues, which is good for replacements and not so good if your sneeze comes on suddenly. Sometimes it takes two hands to maneuver... one hand to steady the house, keeping it from moving across the table or shelf, and the other for yanking out tissues, before germs spread everywhere. Minor or major point, it's your call.

Michael made it a point of saying gray tissues would look good, as they'd mimic the color of soot coming from the chimney. Who makes gray tissues? Who would want them? And haven't we already improved on pollution emissions?

It reminds me of a time in my early twenties when I wanted black sheets. What was I thinking? Obviously, I wasn't, and placed my white sheets into a bucket of black dye... only they came out gray the color of smoke and soot.

During my 'dyeing' days, I worked for Gordon-Davis Linen Service.  I distributed fresh white sheets to dorm students and collected the soiled ones at the end of the week, which looked quite colorful from students using them as rags to clean their paintbrushes.

Today, I prefer white sheets and the look and feel of a white down comforter.

Speaking of white bedding and Home Goods...

You may or may not know, that back in 1878, in Philadelphia, PA, John Wanamaker pioneered the concept of the department store and coined the term 'White Sale' selling bed linens at a discount to increase sales in January, when sales were low and sheets only came in white.

And here I assumed the white in 'White Sales' referred to the color of snow and the huge amounts of it we get on the east coast particularly during the month of January. Perhaps, it should be called January Gray Sales according to Michael's theory on pollution or January 'Rainbow Sales' from dorm student creations.

Coincidently, days after buying 'Casa', I came across these images by Ion Zupcu, called 'American Homes'. Some of his photos were shown recently in a group show titled: "More Photos About Buildings And Food" at Gallery 339 in Philadelphia.

'Folk', 'Saltbox' and 'Dutch Colonial' are the three styles of homes shown above.

What thoughts do you have about 'HOME'?

Do you have a favorite object that speaks to you? What does it say?

Are you in search of a happy ending? What's your wish?

Here are a few links you might find interesting:

'Making a Happy House', a brief interview with Alain de Botton here.

'If These Street Items Could Talk', works by Tineke Meirink here.

DIY stories from New Zealand here.

I know I showed this short Dutch video in a previous post, but it comes to mind whenever I think of objects and good advertising. Wait for it to load then watch it here.

"Home is So Sad", a poem by Philip Larkin here.

'Walking House' by Laurie Simmons

"Every home is a dwelling, but not every dwelling can be home."
'Casa', a tissue please, sniffle, sniffle... I don't know whether to laugh or cry.


  1. I do believe that a home is more about a story than a house. Where I lived as a young child in the labyrinth of row houses in "South Philly", is a cozy fairy tale of small rooms in a big Italian Village. Travel North on the Boulevard
    a few years later, and my home is not unlike a J.D. Salinger quasi-suburban developement with a sci-fi feel to it.
    Cross town in a Westerly direction and you'll see a realistic fictional duplex, chock full of three-D sculptures. The past twenty years is a book on mindfulness, adventure, and a 6 storied coming home tale. At times when I'm in my home, I sense the place is mine, a comfortable container where imagination and friends come and go.

    1. Hey Joey 'D'

      I like your tales of home. I believe that not only a 'piece' of our past homes reside within us for the remainder of our lives, but that an energy of ourselves forever remain within those same walls.

      It is nice to think that our past 'homes' have fond memories of us.

    2. Loved the "voice" of your talking tissue cover house!

  2. I used to have a "house" tissue box cover that was made of cloth and was quilted. It was a gift. I no longer have it and don't remember what happened to it. I have a picture of my daughter at about 3 years of age wearing it on top of her head like a hat.

    The word "home" evokes many happy memories of house I grew up in. My brother and his wife now own that house and when I go there to visit and am in those rooms, fond memories come flooding back. The house used to have a flat roof and when it rained you could hear it hitting the roof and it was such a soothing sound. I remember lying in bed at night listening to the rain and it lulled me to sleep.

    I own a special object: a small (5"x8"), red leather clutch purse. It is special to me because it was made from the coat that my mother used to wear all the time. She had it specially made for her and she loved it. She always received compliments on it when she went out. After she died, my sister took the coat to the woman who made the coat and she made 4 of these clutches,one for each of her children. It has a little pocket on the outside, a zipper across the top the length of it and it is lined with red satin.

    1. Once again Bevo, your words and thoughts are a real asset to this blog.

      I loved the humor in the tissue box holder worn as a hat, the meditative recollection of rain on the roof of a childhood home, and the touching story of an object, once a coat, transformed into a 'clutch' which allows you to hold on dearly to memories of your mom.

      Thanks again for sharing. Any chance of seeing that photo of child and hat?