Friday, November 29, 2013

Coy - Part Eleven - "Take Forever"


Part Eleven

"Take Forever"

            Returned and standing on the top step before the front door to the Savage mansion, I reviewed the boot scrappers (Part One) as I.... “the door is closed... this time”.  I knocked on the actual door hard with my clenched fist knuckles.  I did not use the old brass door knocker... above.  Nothing happened.
            Then soft footsteps.  Then “OH I SHOULD HAVE HAD THIS OPEN” from behind the door as it... slightly sticking... pulled inward to open.  Helen, barefoot and in a similar summer dress peered around the door and said... in a resigned tone... “COME IN”.
            I did but popped into ‘bolt’ mode.  She went off ahead of me saying “IN HERE”; to the same room as before.  I followed.  She kept going on out the back door of the room.  I stopped.  I heard her padding away, stop and start padding back.  At the rear room doorway she said “SIT... DOWN” and gestured with her coffee mug... in her left hand.  Sipping from this, she, again, said “YUCK!” (Part Two)...and sat down.  Her puffy pink feet pushed forward toward me.  There were no “my feet are killing me” shoes in sight.  I... sat down... in the same rag-tag 1790’s country New England Chippendale wing chair... as before.  Helen, with coffee mug hung in mid air to her left looked over her glasses at me.
            I remained in bolt mode.
            Looking me over, seated, first downward... then upward... she ended that by saying “OK”.  Then, after a pause:
            “NOW MR. ANTIQUE... WE ARE TOGETHER AGAIN... sitting HERE facing each other order to TALK to each other... about SOMETHING that NO ONE KNOWS WHAT ABOUT.  SO ARE we going to be MORE IDIOT than that BANK or am I MISSING SOMETHING FROM THIS MEETING?”
            “I... ah... UNDERSTOOD”
            “NOTHING.  AND THAT’S what I UNDERSTAND TOO:  NOTHING.  I said to THAT LAWYER why don’ t YOU come here TOO and EXPLAIN this MEETING OF YOURS to BOTH OF US.  BUT he won’t COME.”
            “Well I understand that I am HERE to examine your family’s estate contents in order to...”
            “Right... ah... TO LOOK at that and...”
            “BEGIN TO MAKE ME CLEAN UP THIS CLUTTER.  I should be hiring a CLEANING WOMAN shouldn’t I;  not you.  NO OFFENSE.”
            “No offense.  Right.  I mean no... ah... the PURPOSE is to examine the house contents and TELL YOU about it; what the CONTENTS IS and HOW VALUABLE it is so that YOU KNOW THIS... in as much detail as YOU WISH... and may DO what ever YOU wish with YOUR estate contents.
            “WHAT IF I don’t want to WISH to DO ANYTHING with MY CLUTTER.  MAY I do THAT TOO?”
            “Of course.  It always all YOURS to do ANYTHING you wish to with.”
            “WISH TO NOT even be LISTENING to THIS.  HOW ABOUT THAT.
            “Yeah... well... Ok... I can just leave and that’s that.” I said starting to stand up.
            “SIT DOWN I’M JUST TRYING TO FIND OUT.  Now WHY is this all about WHAT.  OR IS IT WHAT about WHY.  DO YOU SEE that THEY are IDIOTS at that BANK.  It’s MY BANK I tell them.”
            I sat back down and looked across the room to the left.  The white milk glass compote was still on the table (Part Three). But... I noted... one of the boxes of letters... from the pile on the floor to the table’s left... was now set beside the compote.  I ‘that’s the box of letter that she showed the Historical Society (Part Eight)’ I said to myself... within my micro second quick scan ...over there.
            She saw the glance.
            “I... remember you TALKING ABOUT THAT.  NOW... WHEN do we... WELL WHERE DO WE... go from THAT.  I MEAN:  Is that DONE?  I UNDERSTAND THAT.  You spoke to me about it and I UNDERSTOOD what you said.  I LIKE that compote and I LIKE IT THERE.  Is there something I have to do ABOUT THAT?”
            “That?  No.  Right.  That’s a good example.  We did that.  It is done.  We just do that; what we did there, to everything in the estate.  Every room.”
            “EVERY ROOM.  That will take FOREVER”.
            “No it won’t.  I do it all the time.  I walk through quickly ALL of the rooms and then say what I see; sort of a what I’m up against... well... actually what YOUR up against summery.  Then I go through room by room and... well... configure the contents.  Then I tell you what I’ve configure.  Then YOU tell me what you think of that and if you want anything more.  And, like, well... who you want to know this; your bank, the lawyer, whoever.  Its your stuff.  You’re in charge.”
            “Ok... OK Mr. Antique... NOW I SEE that I’m not getting very much I don’t ALREADY HAVE AND have to let you RAMPAGE around MY HOUSE while I WATCH.  RIGHT?  Then you tell me what YOUR RAPPAGE was ALL ABOUT as if I DON’T ALREADY KNOW.  So suddenly... I am suppose to CARE about what YOU DO as being something I NEED TO DO?”
            “Well I... you see... I CAN LEAVE.”
            “NOW JUST A MINUTE.  You were a PERFECT GENTLEMAN the last time and I DID find you KNOWLEDGEABLE and INFORMATIVE.  Really.  So... IF THAT is what we can DO in here; IN THE HOUSE, well ...I SUPPOSE I can LEARN MORE from you.  BUT I can’t take the TIME today to be ALL OVER THE HOUSE with you.  I’m going OUT TO LUNCH and TOLD YOU THAT”.
            “Yes... right.  So... ah.. we could make a START... and then talk and THEN decide where to go from THERE.”
            “Yes... THERE.  By eleven you think?”
            “Oh certainly.  We’ll just step into a room and start THERE.”
            “What room.  What about THIS ROOM?
            “Well... we’ve sort of FINISHED this room.  I mean:  We did the compote, this chair... identified the boxes of letters.  There’s not much else we can do in here on this... FIRST REVIEW.  We just leave everything the way it is.  That’s another thing about this; the walk through; this first review... I don’t disturb anything.  We don’t want to mess anything up.”
            “She said?”
            “Oh... the appraiser.  No.  This isn’t that.  WE... we do this OURSELVES.  It’s NOT clutter.  YOU know that.  WE don’t need to mess it up until WE know WE WANT TO.  I just LOOK AT IT.  All of it.
            “THIS IS VERY DIFFERENT from what I EXPECTED.  You doing this VERY differently aren’t you.”
            “I do this all the time.  We don’t want to make a mistake in an estate like this.  Until WE know... what I FIND... we don’t mess things up.”
            “NOW WHY... don’t you... EVEN THOSE LETTERS.. well... I MOVED some of them THERE.” Helen said pointing to the box of letters next to the compote.
            “I know that; I saw that.”
            “SAW THAT; that I MOVED the BOX THERE?”
            “You saw that.  HOW? ...Why?
            “That’s my job to do that.  That’s what I DO.  I see that; the box was moved.”
            “Oh my God.  I didn’t MEAN TO do THAT.”
            “That’s nothing.  It’s nothing.”
            “WELL I tried to READ some of the letters but they are SO BORING.”
            “Most old letters ARE boring.  I can’t read ‘em either.”
            “Somebody reads those?  Don’t they?”
            “Yes.  Archival;  Archives.  We’ll get to that.  We don’t need to now.  Trust me.  We just leave the letters there.  WE know they’re there.  We’re DONE for now.”
            “OH GOOD.  What time is it”.
            “No.  I mean done with the letters.”
            “Oh.  I though we were done with this MEETING.  I’m sorry.”
            “Well... we CAN stop if you’d like.”
            “WELL... WHAT ARE we going to DO then.”
            “I suggest we go in another room;  Just one room.  Now.  Today.
            “Today?  Another room?  WHAT ROOM?  I mean; THEY’RE MESSY.”
            “That doesn’t matter.  Don’t clean them up!  Leave them.  We want to see them just the way they are.  They won’t be the same if you CLEAN THEM.”
            “Clean them?  I don’t want to CLEAN THEM.  It’s just the clutter.  I AM a CLUTTER BUG.  OK?”
            “Just don’t worry about.  I WORK in cluttered rooms all the time.  It’s more fun.”
            “More to look at.  Makes it more fun.”
            “Oh... well... TELL ME WHAT ROOM.  SOME ROOMS... maybe not TODAY.  OK?”
            Sure.  Yeah... how about THAT ROOM.” I say gesturing from my seated position up past Helen in her chair to the doorway behind her.
            “Oh my GOD that one’s a MESS”.
            “So what.”
            “Even better!”
            “EVEN BETTER?”
            I stood up.
            Helen... unwillingly... stood up too.  She turned and stepped to the door way.  I stepped behind her.  Standing in the doorway, she raised her left arm to rest her hand on the left side of the doorway to... block me.  She look into; surveyed the room.  I stood behind her trying to peek over her head and shoulders.
            “Oh my God.” She said.  “Your gonna think I’m crazier than a shit house rat.”  She dropped her arm and... let me into the room.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Coy - Part Ten - "Beautifully Simple"


Part Ten

"Beautifully Simple"

            Helen laid the foundation for this chapter way back in the first and second chapters (Parts One and Two).  That was fifteen years ago.  She threw out her first ‘appraiser’ for calling her a “clutter bug”, wearing Eileen Fisher clothing and being from Scarsdale, New York.  It was clear to me then that Helen knew well of her “clutter”, of Eileen Fisher and... of Scarsdale, New York.  Fortunately for me that morning I knew enough to know that what she knew was an ...imperative for ME to understand.  I also... had the good fortune of ‘knew well’ myself... these... these.
            When I say I must stand behind Eric Sloane at Kent, Connecticut and look, with him, south-southwest... it is ‘these’ THERE that I am, from Kent, looking at.  A line south-southwest leaves Kent, clips Sherman, enters New Fairfield (all in Connecticut) and then ...enters New York state... to cross a diagonal cross-section slice-in-half... Westchester County, New York.  The slice line ends when it plunges into the Hudson River.  From a Maine (northern New England) vantage, the Hudson River is edge of an earth.
            This diagonal slice line crossing Westchester County passes witch pie close to both Irvington, New York on the Hudson and “The Westchester” (shopping mall) in White Plains, New York.  Eileen Fisher headquarters is in Irvington.  “The Westchester” has an Eileen Fisher retail store on the second “level”.  Aside from THIS STORE, a store in Westport, Connecticut and a smatter of right located stores in the Boston area, Eileen Fisher stores are not found in New England.  There are none in Northern New England; Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.  Reminding of my turned up side down line of fortifications resisting the progression of congestion (Part Six [D]) in New England, that line from Kent... to Concord, MA and on to New Castle, NH... ‘is north’ of all Eileen Fisher stores.  It is north of “The Westchester” (shopping mall) too.  At “The Westchester” the Eileen Fisher store represents its offering as “Beautifully simple womens’ clothing designed to move with real life”.  This is a very fine and very true representation.
            Until one shows up at Helen’s mansion “dressed in”
            “The Westchester” is a premiere shopping mall; a ‘wish we had one like THAT here’ grade NATIONAL (global?) peak quality showcase ...of what a shopping mall can be, should be... and... if ways may be had... WILL BE... in Northern New England?  I first ‘my credit card’ embraced “The Westchester” as a private citizen shopping with my family.  They love it.  I sit reading rare booksellers’ catalogs and drinking ice coffee outside Nordstrom’s while they....:  I have to do that ‘until the end of time’ seems.  I hear and have heard ‘people’ regularly ‘speak of’ “IT”.  In the last decade I have... had personal contact... in Maine... with those that:
            Will drive from Maine to “The Westchester” to “go shopping”.  They will drive to White Plains, shop, stay overnight and... “drive back to Maine the next day”.  This is because “The Westchester” mall is “BETTER” and that stated better includes ALL of the shopping in Boston.  “The Westchester” is the “easiest way” to “shop in New York”... I am told.  Greenacres, in Scarsdale, bordering on White Plains, is... about (if not less than) five miles from “The Westchester”.  IF Helen knows of Greenacres (Part Two), then she ‘know of that’; “The Westchester”.  She... knows of Eileen Fisher clothing too.  And has ...probably been to “The Westchester”... and goes there... the whole ‘this whole time’ (fifteen years)... I best assume?
            FROM Westchester County, New York... spreading east-northeast... comes this “IT”.  “The Westchester” is a pinnacle.  Barges of congested like intended detritus are ‘pulled behind with it’ (the intellectual “IT”; the premise, the taste, the ... “services”.  The ...stores... in “The Westchester” I have had stated to me as being “the services they have”).  Like rectangular sheets of plywood laid down square, this “IT” moves into New England laying a false floor of this “IT” ...upon... New England.  It is greeted and received warmly by the populace and the false floor expands and extends.  Soon... a ‘more’ is ‘floored over’... ‘too’.  And more... of the more who live there... now... go there... more...TOO.  But, we are assured, ‘they will preserve’... old New England TOO.  And they do.  And we then have... New England... right side up:  “Its right over there.  Isn’t that NICE!”.  “I just LOVE the OLD CHURCH when they LIGHT IT AT NIGHT!”.  Etc.
            “Etc” works until one shows up at Helen’s... “The Savage Mansion”.  All of a sudden one steps off the edge of the false floor that is ...New England right side up.   “(SHE) STARTS SAYING I’M A CLUTTER BUG” (Part Two).
            In Helen’s view... Boston is a village “where my bank is”.  To Mainers, Boston has ALWAYS been a village that one can “go to”.  That’s it.  “New York, to Helen, is NEW YORK CITY and that one GOES THERE to... “to shop”:  SHOP in NEW YORK CITY.  Not... at “The Westchester” IN Westchester.  ‘Scarsdale is in Westchester’.  One ‘takes the train’ (from NYC) to get there.  “The Westchester”... in Westchester has only become a shopping destination from Maine for Mainers “because”... “it will do in a pinch” (especially if one “has high school [age] girls”)... and... the accommodating dexterity purveyed by the interstate highway systems that helps in maneuvering in and through congested New England:  The white SUV rides by old cow paths to ‘go shopping’.  “Don’t forget your sunglasses, Dear”.  Helen not only knows all of this but IS all of this too... including ‘living in Maine’ in her family’s “old sea captain (Savage) mansion.”  Helen knows all about congestion in New England because she ‘lives that’.  She knows it is NOT clutter.
            Westchester county is the source of congestion in New England.  It is ...and supplies.. the model.  Even New Jersey... a region the is ‘very good’ at congestion... cannot... and does not... equal.  The construction of the false floor of congestion extends steadily east-northeast upon old New England.  Toward Maine.  Toward the Savage mansion.  What will happen to the Savage mansion?  Will it be pitched?  Will it be turned up side down?  Will it be rummaged, ransacked, looted and carried off.  Or will it be ‘right side up’ and ‘they light it at night’?  Or both?
            Three weeks after my first visit to the Savage mansion, now over fifteen years ago, I went back ...for my second visit.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Coy - Part Nine - "Crazy Man" - (D)


Part Nine

"Crazy Man"


Eric Sloane published “When the study of the past is mistaken for nostalgia, beware!” in 1958.  That is over fifty years ago.  It was forty-seven years before Hohn ended his article with his “Newer is still better, but now we are nostalgic for almost everything”.
            Newer is still better, but now we are HOMESICK for almost everything?

            Sloane’s ‘mistaken of past’ ENDS his “Author’s Note” in his THE SEASONS OF AMERICA PAST, Wilfred Funk, New York, 1958.  He BEGINS this “Author’s Note” with:

            “Nostalgia, it has been said, is a great American disease.  Yet an appraisal (note word choice) of the past need not be nostalgic.  True nostalgia is “homesickness,” and even the most ardent antiquarian (note word choice) would not so yearn for the past as to want to return completely.  In this speeding world, the faster we travel, the farther back we leave our past.  We soon find ourselves using all our powers to “keep up with things,” and looking backward at all has become a lost art.  Even beholding and evaluating the present becomes difficult.”

            This, again, he published in 1958.  The “Author’s Note” is followed by the first chapter; “Speeding up the Seasons”.  This chapter’s text... is a splendid Sloane screed that if hen pecked by a writer of their own screed... would discerningly allow the words “political tract”, “manifesto”, “romantic, “Yankee conservatism” AND “Communist Manifesto agree” to be applied.

            Additionally... the text is highly roll-off-the-tongue quotable, includes a greasing of verbal skids to slide towards a saying “cranky guy” and... is horribly STILL relevant as an anticipation of the first Earth Day (1970) ONWARD to our planet concerns of our NOW.  Example:

            “Twentieth-century progress is sometimes more involved with speed and quantity than with quality.  For the sake of speed and reduced costs, modern manufacturers have become artists at imitating nature,  Some ice cream (NOTE THIS) manufacturers use piperonal (excellent for killing lice) as a substitute vanilla flavoring.  Diethyl glucol (paint-remover) and anti-freeze material is used as an egg flavor.  Ethyl acetate once was used for cleaning leather and textiles, but it makes a good artificial pineapple flavor now.  Oil paint solvent, amyl acetate, fakes banana flavoring, benzyl acetate imitates strawberry; butyraldehyde fakes nut flavor.  Some food manufacturers guarantee “artificial flavors absolutely pure.” (pg. 15)”.

            “Do I wish to ever... lick... a King Kone orange-vanilla soft serve (Part Nine [C]) after ‘reading Sloane?” I ask MYSELF.  Who cares about Hohn or... anyone else.
            ROMANTIC political tract manifesto Yankee conservative... commie?
            The whole damn 1958 book... is... SO FAR AHEAD and now... SO FAR BACK THERE... go get it... off of the bookshelf in the TV ROOM... sit down and READ IT.  DO NOT... just look at the pictures like the last time... way back - way back - when it was a wrapped gift ‘under the tree’.
            One will find a very ...reasoned... NO:  SEASONED prose style of very SEASONED content presented by a very SEASONED hand that makes, WITHOUT SAYING SO EVER... very SEASONED SENSE.  It is an informative and satisfying read that has been long PITCHED up side down; forgotten and not known of.
            And I am not going to spend a whole lot of quoting to prove this.  I do not have too.  Eric Sloane... pitched... up side down... IS STILL THERE.  Everywhere actually.  That his museum is closed... there by being... AT KENT... a splendid example of New England... ‘fall back and fade away’...:  I mean:  Can I believe that I... taking on the congestion of old New England right side up pitching the old New England upside down off to the side... has for me... at that MY outpost fort of strategic defense in Kent, Connecticut not only my crazy man Sloane ‘there’ but has his museum there TOO and it is CLOSED so... I ...cannot go there because IT has already fallen back and faded away TOO.  The Sloane museum, like Susanna Johnson, hisses, “GO TO HELL” when one ‘tries the door’.
            Sloane... in this prose snippet from this book... ALREADY...- in 1958- FULLY takes on the speeding white SUV sunglasses wearing ‘she’s driving’ on old cow paths strip mall congesting meridian ROLL OVER... with... “more involved with speed and quantity than with quality” (above)... AND... rips orange-vanilla soft serve a new one... TOO...IN THE SAME PARAGRAPH.  Such rich fertile soil I find?
            “He’s a crank”.  I got it.
            I do not need Sloane anymore.  He is done for me.  He; my ‘crazy man’ delivered.  Delivers.  WILL CONTINUE TO deliver.  He is still there.

            Let’s be nice and talk about the two foot high stack of his published work.  “Yeah like everyone KNOWS so like, OLD NEWS”.  He started early and peaked as ‘crank’ before 1960.  Success filled his wallet so by the time MUSEUM of TOOLS (1964) was published ‘pictures’ ‘of things’ with info snippets was ‘he was knocking them (‘Sloane books’ in the physical sense) out’.  TOOLS IS THAT... although ‘tool guys’ STILL see it as a manifesto... that goes against rusted wrench art.  “GOING BACK” and actually “READING” Sloane I ...NEVER... (my carefully chosen word)... ‘Sloane books’ “YEAH I HAVE THAT ONE I THINK”... encounter.  Most ‘have some’ “THE TOOL ONE” and ...have read NONE... including “THE TOOL ONE”.  And stammer/stagger ‘away’.  They ‘spend no money’ is their ‘in antiques (antiquarian) dealer’ jargon spot-found.  Too.

            AFTER their original publication supply dried up... for ‘Eric Sloane books’ (resembling in generic commercial common-ness... Snoopy calendar type ...stuff...)  there was a decade long window (‘pre-internet 1980’s - 1995) where ‘some’ ‘book collectors’ ‘collected’ ‘SLOANE BOOKS’ and a ‘bibliography’ of his books was published.  But the internet market place quickly proved one may ‘get’ ‘any’ ‘Sloane book’ ‘you want’ at any time ‘easy’... so... today... collector’s ‘be gone’.  The books, in New England estates are, from my vantage... ‘always a few’ in the... what is presented to me as... ‘our library’.  Currently... ‘to sell’ Sloane... hardcover in dust jacket; clean and crisp... WHOLESALE ‘to the trade’... ‘six bucks’... OR LESS.  Basically I don’t “buy” Sloane at all... I GET Sloane. And no one ever quibbles the point; GET... not BUY.  SO... I alert the reader:

            “Perhaps we have found a ‘the point of all this’ here... now?
            Or are we ‘too soon’?” (Part Nine [C]).
            That’s the second time I’m supplying a... the ‘answer’ or ...conclusion... to this tale... of the Savage estate contents...  Best to lay off licking the King Kone and ‘take note’.
            Now that my witch pie and my crazy man have done their work.  Now that ‘orange-vanilla’ tastes bad.  Now that my south, south west fort against congestion ...has assured NO CONGESTION by having its museum ... closed.  Now that Susannah has given birth, the gravestones are tossed into the sea, the gone and... history is not whispered... are we done?  May I go back for my second visit with Helen within HER Savage estate “I am the heir”.  No.  Not yet.
            I have to stand behind Eric Sloane at Kent and look... south... southwest... and denote... where... ‘this’; the congestion and right side uppity-ness ‘came from’.  This is because I NEED to understand this to ...understand... ‘where’ Helen... ‘is coming from’.  I remind that the last time I wrote of her... SHE had become, to I, ‘suspect too’ (Part Eight).

Monday, November 25, 2013

Coy - Part Nine - "Crazy Man" - (C)


Part Nine

"Crazy Man"


            With my conjure and charm; my witch pie, of the broken Fisherman’s Hut plate at hand, I am now prepared to step-up a ladder rung with this rung understood to be... ‘go to use a particle of THEIR vision... to find my crazy man’.  To off-set this, in fact, struggle, I open with a satisfactory toward-the-end quote... from the MAGAZINE ARTICLE...  that is a ‘their vision’ that I may, ‘once captured, (make) part of MY vision.  A nasty twisting of their crafting?  I have to do it all the time’ (Part Nine [B]):

“This singular collection is the child of an opportunity which will certainly never occur again.  Let my words inspire you one and all to refrain from destroying historical specimens of this kind which happen to be in your possession”.

            This quote is from... and applied... within the context of the magazine article.  I’ll get to the wholeness of that in a moment.  Here though... please see that for I this quote ‘is a spirit rope tied back upon... and often woven into... itself’ (Part Six –[C]) for what this whole tale is about.  Could... and will... it apply to the Savage Estate?  Does it apply to the lawn tractor and the removal of the gravestones?  Did Melville ‘destroying historical specimens’ when he ‘removed below’ (Part Six –[C])?  Did I... when I found the broken plate and ‘carry off’?  Continued, such application of this quote seems to fit like a skeleton key into many... if not all... of the right side up and ‘pitched’ up side down of... New England... as this tale CONTINUES to wander along.  Perhaps we have found a ‘the point of all this’ here... now?
            Or are we ‘too soon’?
            I address directly the magazine article now:  It is Donovan Hohn “A Romance of Rust.  Nostalgia, Progress and the Meaning of Tools”, Harper’s, January 2005, pgs. 45-63.  Note that it is a long ...and of tiny print... article; eighteen pages (including a ‘double page’ advertisement).  Understand too that the author at this time ...had, still had or just had... an editorial job at Harper’s.  The ‘long article’ effect is that both in my first reading and... second recent reading... it took me a long time to read for like the reading of the Eileen Fisher article (Part One), I read it in snippets during lunch.  But additionally note that after my first reading at the time of its publication... I DID SAVE THE ...whole magazine.
            Why is that a note need?  Because NO ONE has ever mentioned this article to me nor have I ever had contact with anyone who has ‘read’... AND I MEAN, too, READ... the article... UNDERSTANDING THAT... I... WORK... DAILY... in the subject of the article AND am same-time commercially active in that subject.  TOO.  I have no idea how many ‘old tool sheds’ I have been in and/or ‘cleaned out’ (‘carry off; loot’) in... THE LAST FORTY YEARS.  When I was in ...junior high school... so titled then... I looted old tool sheds... ‘after school’.  Anyway:  “ZERO” about anything from anyone EVER about this article.  BUT I SAVED IT... because it IS ‘good’.
            The quote above... to tidy that up... is from a “display” at the Henry Chapman Mercer’s tool museum and is from Mercer himself (pg. 60 in the article).  That’s not why I saved the article.  It is not what for I exhume the article for in this tale.  I exhume it to find my ‘crazy man’.  I knew it ‘did this’... IN THE WAY... I wish it to do this; sort of back into my crazy man through my... New England turned up side down notice...  by this article being a quintessential specimen of the New England right side up vision found in their... ‘clinical’ ‘myth be gone’ ‘clarity, accuracy, factual data gathering, ordered presentation, walled-in conclusions and ...a full sense of purpose to... successfully get their ...lawn tractor in... to mow back the wilderness’ (Part Nine [B]).  Sorry to repeat this but I must be sure to declare what spike I’m driving home for... we... must notice that... the spirit rope tied back upon... and often woven into... itself’... continues to get...:  Does it not?
            Hohn writes about old hand tools... in all ways; yard sale, auction, fairs, shows, museums, collections, collectors, condition, storage, perceptions, characters, critique, questions, conquest, intellectual evaluations, reason-to-be, rust, trucks, ice cream and... crazy men.  I save the article because of the comprehensive crafting.  I did not, either the first read or the second read... ‘learn much’.  This is not a weak point.  It is because I have been ‘in this’ a... ‘long time’.  I bought and read Mercer’s classic book in high school.  I didn’t READ it...; I ‘looked at’ it intensely like EVERYONE ELSE (in antique tools) does.  I ‘buy and sell’ ‘old’ ‘tool’... daily.  AND endure the surround sound of that collector community.  I do not ‘need’ the article.  I kept it.  WHY?  Because that’s what I do.  So when I got to writing down this tale of the Savage estate... with its ‘coy façade of fabricated myth’ ‘turned up side down’... and the need of depicting that ‘turned up side down’.... brought forth on the up side down border of congestion... from the south, southwest... with Kent, Connecticut as a frontier outpost of undisturbed New England... with that; Kent... being of ‘exposed position’ on the frontier so therefore being of a ‘fall back and fade away’ tactic necessity... I had NOT ‘forgotten about’ and DIDN’T ‘not know of’ this article of ...right side up... intellectually over viewing ‘old tools’ as a... ‘turned up side down:  Are they?’
            IN the article... one of the article’s crazy men... is the crazy man that... ‘I need some help.  I need a crazy man”.  He is Eric Sloan... from Kent, Connecticut.
            Hohn treats Sloan just the way (1) I need him too and (2) ‘pitches him to the side ‘up side down’.  Sloan, as character and crazy man, appears in the text early and... stays late.  I used the broken plate witch pie to... ‘find’ and ‘carry off’ ALL ‘Sloan’ in the article.  Sloan is best understood to be shown as...; museums, collections, collectors, perceptions, characters, critique, questions, conquest, intellectual evaluations, reason-to-be and... crazy men.  Hohn evaporates all these as he goes along to leave a syrup of perceptions, intellectual evaluations, reason-to-be and ...crazy man.  That may be a little brutal but it avoids the ‘dismisses him’ ‘pitched’ ‘up side down’...glimmer of enlightenment ... I noticed he harbored of Sloan...way off.  I do not need Sloan for his work with old tools.  I need him because he is found in Kent and... is a verified ‘crazy man’ character.  His strength for I is ‘there’.  But ...I will go blow by blow through Hohn before stepping to stand behind Mr. Sloan... who faces south, southwest from Kent.

            The first few pages of Hohn’s article adopts the reader to the Midwestern country fair of old tools and rusted wrenches.  “Nice” describes the read.  At the bottom of page fifty Eric Sloan makes his appearance:  “Eric Sloane, the seminal romancer of antique tools...”.  At the top of the next page (51) Hohn/Sloane continues and Hohn drops the ‘nice leash’:

            “When he published A MUSEUM OF EARLY AMERICAN TOOLS in 1964, Sloane almost single-handedly transformed old tools into Americana. ...  At first glance, Sloane’s book appears to be nothing more than a pictorial dictionary or field guide.  In truth it is a political tract, an illustrated manifesto of romantic, Yankee conservatism”.

            Ok... here we go.  Obviously “political tract”, “manifesto”, “romantic” and “Yankee conservatism” are... no longer about Midwestern tool fairs and rusted wrenches.  At the bottom right of the same page (51) Hohn ends the page with “There are no wrenches in Eric Sloan’s MUSEUM (the book)”.  Gloves off... for Hohn on Sloan.  Two more subtle notes.  Sloan’s MUSEUM book published at 1964 is ‘later’ in Sloan’s publishing career.  (Hohn notice no other Sloane books in his screed).  Sloane is already well wrote by this date and his early material is... better... and NOT about ‘tools’.  It includes tools but, using Hohn lingo... it is MORE... manifesto of romantic, Yankee conservatism” (a religion?).  I’ll get to that in the next chapter.
           Hohn IS RIGHT that for the rusted tool collector set; ‘tool guys’... THIS 1964 book DID kick old tools ... out of the farm tool shed and ...on to my ‘weekends in junior high onward’ flea market table “FOR SALE”.  Rummaging, ransacking, looting, carrying off and... very, very, very... ever more correctly defined VERY...  SERIOUS... OLD TOOL... ‘collecting’... came forth... leading FOUR decades later to ... articles like this showing... old tools... right side up.  Having actually ridden on this bus of a commercial market, et al, for the whole ride... I... failed to find “manifesto” and “Yankee conservatism” at my flea market table.  I did... and do... get ‘tool guy romantics’ stammering before me.  None the less... Hohn/Sloane... goes Hohn’s way for the rest of the article with Sloane being his ‘under the bus guy’ versus... ‘the tool guy’.  Hohn adopts an “according to Eric Sloane” (pg. 56) usage of this “anti-unionist libertarian” (pg. 56)... to... “meaning of tools he and the author of the Communist Manifesto agree”.

            “Yikes.” and... ah...:  “Hey tool guys better get that Sloane MUSEUM book off the shelf of your... reference library”.  I mean... the book’s got GREAT pictures drawn by SLOANE...:  “Do they say something else if you turn them ...up side down...?”  The right side up line in the sand is ...romance... manifesto... and Yankee conservatism... are NOT ‘old tools’?  Old tools are ...practical educated Midwestern men rummaging in old tool sheds to ... BUY... “OLD TOOLS” ... for as little expense as possible... and take them to THEIR tool shed... often especially constructed at considerable expense... to ...well... ‘be in there’; that tool shed... AND/OR occasionally have a fellow travelers trade fair outing and ‘show off’... OF THE TOOL and OF... the ‘tool guy’ TOO.  Sloane?  “Squashed like a bug, guys”.  What does that mean for this tale?  It means that Sloane and “his manifesto of romantic, Yankee conservatism” are... PITCHED to the side... up side down and... Hohn proves this (pg. 57):

            “My route to New Britain takes me tantalizingly close to the Sloane-Stanley Museum on the banks of the Housatonic (Kent, Connecticut), where, atop the picturesque ruins of an iron mill, Eric Sloane’s collection of edifying implements now resides.  I decide to make time for the detour.  According to the posted hours, the museum is open for business but when I try the front door to the main building, I find it locked.  I snoop among the deserted grounds, silent but for the crunch of my footsteps on the gravel drive.  There’s a flagpole with a limpid flag, a few picnic tables splattered with bird droppings, an...” AND IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME NOW, THEN, BEFORE THEN, ALL OF NOW AND THEN:  Eric Sloane’s museum in Kent, Connecticut is CLOSED.  It is ‘pitched’ and ‘turned up side down’.

            “YOU FOOL!” ...of the... right... side... up... vision ...of version... of your rusted wrench all...:
            IT IS STILL THERE.
            I drive by it all the time.  It’s beautiful there.  There is NO congestion.  It is closed.
            Hohn attempts a soft landing (pg. 58):  “I concede that Sloane was ‘a cranky guy’ with strong opinion and a romantic view of the past.  Still, many of the (antique) tools I’ve seen at tool auctions look superior – sturdier, prettier, more finely wrought -  than those on sale a Home Depot”.

            HOME DEPOT?
            Then (pg. 59) “Sloane’s epigraph... declares that the carpenter... is far more serviceable than the curious Carver who employs his art to please his Fancy”.  The rusted wrench as art?
            Hohn’s last direct reference to Sloane... (pg. 60) :  “Unlike Eric Sloane, Mercer regards objects as artifacts not symbols.  He insists that his tools not be treated as romantic nationalistic icons.”...  We are returned to the ... “his manifesto of romantic, Yankee conservatism”?
            Yes... and... right side up... within this article... may be traced back to the beginning pages... “atop a ridge... an ice cream stand called King Kone in the shape of an enormous soft-serve whose new owners (NOTE THAT) no longer offer (the) favorite flavor, orange-vanilla swirl” (pg. 54).  That’s where the end-of-a-rusted-wrench-day... manifesto; bitching about the “orange-vanilla”... myth be gone?
            Hohn... finishes himself off... with his last sentence:  “Newer is still better, but now we are nostalgic for almost everything” (pg. 63).
            I... now... step BEHIND Sloane in Kent.  From there Sloane wrote:
            “When the study of the past is mistaken for nostalgia, beware!”

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Coy - Part Nine - "Crazy Man" - (B)


Part Nine

"Crazy Man"


            ‘Wishing myths be gone’ becomes my next... need for adjustment.  I would have preferred to step up ONE rung on my laddered hunt for my crazy man but... I may not.  New England right side up and their ‘myth be gone’ dynamic snarls my ‘step up one rung’ by simply being their clear vision of how it is in New England.  I do not object to their vision.  It features clarity, accuracy, factual data gathering, ordered presentation, walled-in conclusions and ...a full sense of purpose to... successfully get their ...lawn tractor in... to mow back the wilderness of four hundred years (not including the first one hundred years - the 1500’s - of pre-literate New England settlement) of ...old New England.
            It may seem a small point; a simple point, but... to my fellow travelers and I... a point it is that must be treated with... over and over.  It is a first clear ‘fighting back’.  What that means is that for I to use a particle of THEIR vision... to find my crazy man... whom I intend to use to ‘help me’ fortify... against that THEIR vision... I must prepare MY ladder-rung-step-up to first step upon a rung BELOW to... assure that not only may I capture the particle of their vision but that this particle be, once captured, part of MY vision.  A nasty twisting of their crafting?  I have to do it all the time.
            The problem is the ‘clinical’ of the ‘their vision’.  Always the very clinical on all fronts.  Footnoted and published as scholarly off-prints and... ‘refreshments after the talk’ sensibilities rein.  Rain.  Things are just not that way and I must bring in old friends from this tale to ...fabricate... a ladder’s rung to step on to ... step to that next rung.  Remember Herman Melville and his garret visit?  (Part Six [C]).  Back we go.

            Herman... is splendid specimen of ‘myth be gone’.  He wrote a New England masterpiece of a... coy façade of fabricated myth.  It was about a whale and a crazy NEW ENGLAND man.  And other crazy men trapped in ... up side down or right side up.... New England.  Too.  He... did not enjoy success for doing this.  After he did this; wrote the book... he... was... ‘be gone’.  Ended up... we all know how:  Writing the “Apple Tree Table”, et al, and having the those... spit back in his face AND... no money.  Although there was a cult and a 1920’s re-look, it was not until ‘after the war’ that Herman ‘is ok... today’.
            That would be enough to make Herman an acceptable crazy man ‘be gone’ but I need a word and two more to me... on THIS ladder’s rung.  In the FIRST paragraph of “The Apple Wood Table”; the same paragraph that gave me the word “necromantic”... I abscond with two more words:  “Conjurations and charms”.  In the garret, to Herman’s first view, the table, with the “ghostly dismantled old quarto” and its further of being “set out with broken, be-crusted old purple vials and flasks” is... “significant of conjurations and charms”.  A of witchcraft.  It is in old New England:  (quoting again) “a very old garret of a very old house in an old-fashioned quarter of one of the oldest towns in America”.  I here take these words and their setting purveyed... to help me.  Otherwise, for all that I have ever seen... these words and “The Apple Wood Table” are long... ‘be gone’.

            “NOW, now, now”; I cannot just scamper away.  More of the same (witch crafting) comes from the SAME (Part Six [C]).  I included Huckleberry Finn’s comments on HIS ‘snaked her out, private’ garret visit.  What did Mr. Finn ‘snake her out, private’?  An old New England brass bed warmer.  And... WHY did he WANT this bed warmer?  To make... “witch pie”.
            Finn responds to “Dad fetch it, I jis’ wisht I could git my han’s on one er dem witches jis’ wunst – on’y jis’ wunst – it’s all I’d ast.”  He responds with:  “Well, I tell you what I think.  What makes them come here just at .... breakfast-time?  It’s because they are hungry; that’s the reason.  You make them a witch pie; that’s the thing for you to do.”
            Witch Pie?
            “How’s I gwyne  to make ‘m a witch pie?  I don’t know how to make it.  I hain’t ever hearn er sich a thing b’fo.”
            Mr. Finn replies:  “Well, then, I’ll have to make it myself.”  (Mark Twain, HUCKLEBERRY FINN, NY, 1884, pg 314),  Then he goes to the garret and ‘snakes off, private’... the bed warmer and DOES MAKE WITCH PIE... in it.
            There are two ‘captures’ from Finn ‘to help’.  First; witch pie; the ‘conjure’ and ‘charm’ of that; witch pie.  Second....:  I’ll have to make it (the conjure and charm; my witch pie) myself.”
            I’m used to having to do this all the time anyway.  I just do it.   I believe this is the first time I’ve supported my... conjure and charm...; my witchcraft... with ...historical... reference.  Oh... those are not ...historical... supports?  Best check back at the beginning of this chapter to the ‘clinical’ ‘be gone’ of ... the whispered history of New England.  Whispered.  Not the ‘clarity, accuracy, factual data gathering, ordered presentation, walled-in conclusions’ history.
            Now that I’ve explained the need for a-rung-below on the ladder... and that this rung is ‘conjure and charm’: that it is ‘witch pie’ and I... I... must make it myself.  And that this is all to be done to ‘...fabricate... a ladder’s rung to step on... to ... step to that next rung’ so that I may go ‘to use a particle of THEIR vision... to find my crazy man’... I set off to MY garret to this.
            What charm... could I... be I... the one to know... of THERE (in garret)... that ONE... as I... could use as PIE... to conjure witches... to CAPTURE ... a... theirs own... thy?

            I had to go back to very old and primitive coastal New England... but I knew of ‘just the thing’.  And it (this ‘just the thing’) CANNOT be in perfect condition.  And... well... I know this is irritatingly silly... but... I had to walk by grandmother’s... grandmother’s bed warmer... that is hung by our fireplace... as it should be... to get to our garret... and... I did more than glance ‘at it’. “Witch pie, Mr. Finn?”....said I.
            What I sought... I had not bought... but had found that lot... a long, long time ago (thirty-five years?).  Being alone in the cleanout of an old estate; a low cape of a colonial site with an 1820’s farm built upon that site, I was well two weeks into ‘carrying off’ all and so... all... of my team were ‘need not’ so I... was alone.  AND I moved from the 1820’s home through the kitchen to the ...summer kitchen that was in fact the original homestead cape structure long converted to shed and... summer kitchen.  Against the wall... beside the door that led... back to the kitchen... from the summer kitchen... was a small step back cupboard... farm made and butted onto the wall by the door.  This had been used to hold the ‘extra’ and ‘outside’ (summer) china ‘long ago’.  Small, dirty, empty but still a notable ‘built in’ treasure of primitive Maine in ‘old paint’ (Indian red) and ‘old surface’ I, alone, could ...and would that day by plan... ‘take that’ (carry it off).  And did.  It was easy for I to do.
            WHEN I ‘pried loose’ ‘it’ from the wall I ... “Well I!” found below the bottom section’s TOP shelf had dropped... down and behind the BOTTOM shelf’s back board ... so ‘lost behind’ against the wall... an old dark blue Staffordshire transferware plate... ‘broken’; a plate and its piece.  And I knew too right then with my right then glance that IT was the RIGHT plate to be in the RIGHT place to be ‘lost’ and ‘broken’ for MY quick EYE SPY... it to be ...The Fisherman’s Hut...  pattern... fair-square... a circle-round of ‘dark blue’ WELL KNOWN to symbolize THE PLACE and TIME that I found it ‘broken’ to be LOST in:  1820’s coastal Maine - right time – right place – right plate.  And so... not  being worth any money though... yet ‘splendid’ to MY eye to find I ‘in the truck’ and away... from that special ‘lost’ and ‘broken’ place ‘so always’ ‘I remember’ it and ...all of it; the ‘carrying off’ ‘of it.  IF it had been perfect it would have fallen a ‘sold long ago’.  But broken... only I... had an eye...

            So this old broken plate... of “Fisherman’s Hut” clattered around my garret for I and my eye... ‘forever’ until the “I’ll have to make it (the conjure and charm; my witch pie) myself.” sent I and eye spy and ...exhume.
            Giddy... for when one makes witch pie ‘myself’ one DOES enjoy the privilege of ‘giddy’... and the privilege of cackle too... ...I thought well past the ‘what is this’ of the old plate for that be common knowledge for a standard antique... and that it be too; to the standard antiquarian.  ENGLISH by maker, Staffordshire by title, earthenware by pottery, transferware by decoration and blue... by... to the eye ‘dark blue’... the Fisherman’s Hut plate is well known by subject and title to be... ‘for the American (New England) market’*.  SOME wandering Fisherman’s Hut MAY have seen ‘at table’ usage in, say... Pennsylvania... but more obvious it is a ‘coastal New England subject’.  Fishermen and their huts were the first settlers... going way back in their shoreline huts to before the ‘can read and write’ men ‘explored’.  From that then on they (fishermen and their huts) have NEVER LEFT and are still found today... to be on the coast of New England... where fishermen ...stay.  Salt watered gear, rusted trucks, rubber boots, scrappy boats and eyes-to-horizon looking-past-you... they; ancient mariners, STILL be ‘there’ and ‘same’ TODAY... even with their proud record of them being ‘turned up side down’.  “They still have the honor of drowning at sea”.

            Anyway... this English transferware plate is about this; the hut, the man, the gear, the wife, the children.  Only it is circa 1825.  So... like the old print (Part Nine [A]), it is a ‘memorial’ ‘placed’ of ‘this’ (fishermen on the coast of New England) NOW long ago but at its memorial date an ‘of a long ago’ THEN TOO; New England... from England... about... New England long ago... that was still then AND be still NOW too.  The conjure and charm... is clear?  It is... an old New England witch pie... this plate I found... and... is too... ‘broken’.
            It is Finn by Twain’s hand that is fixtured (my verb) on proper procedure, poise, purpose and ...detail must be followed.  If Finn says ‘broken-must be’ it... must be.  I... my maker of my witch pie says... therefore... ‘broken-must be’.  THIS IS BECAUSE... the right side up New England... has Fisherman’s Hut plates that are... ‘in perfect condition’ ...depicting a subject that ...history shows... was and IS never in... ‘perfect condition’.  Fisherman’s Hut, et al... is not perfect... in New England... at all.  Hence their ‘eyes-to-horizon looking-past-you... they’ I noted above.  IF one is a ‘from that’ (the right side up) then THAT ‘perfect eye’ one gets is THAT.  Got it... and perhaps... get it (THAT EYE).  So I say broken... for witch pie... and powerful ‘conjure and charm I HAVE don’t I (eye). 
            I take my broken plate from my own garret and, as it is my witch pie, ‘go after’ the... to ‘be done to ‘...fabricate... a ladder’s rung to step on... to ... step to that next rung’ so that I may go ‘to use a particle of THEIR vision... to find my crazy man’.  Powerful ‘powerful stuff’ the old New England fisherman and his hut.  I have made a solid rung to step on.

* :  For quick and classic reference see “Coysh”:  Coysh/Henrywood, THE DICTIONARY OF BLUE & WHITE PRINTED POTTERY 1780-1880 VOLUME ONE, Antique Collectors Club Ltd., Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1995, pg. 138.