Monday, December 16, 2013

Coy – Part Fifteen – “The Odyssey and the Iliad”


 Part Fifteen

“The Odyssey and the Iliad” 

            In old New England homes they say:

            “Clean off the (coffee) table
            In shame
            For you decorate
            In vain”.

            The little poem... is ‘whispered history’.  (Most often heard behind a back).  The poem’s meaning is... the decoration of the old New England home... is a VAIN (in both meanings) interpretation by ...the decorator. 
            There were no coffee tables in the old New England estate.  The design form had not appeared yet.  That explains why they always look so stupid in the ...restored, preserved and decorated old New England ‘home’ today.  They actually... ‘don’t belong there’ and... ‘were never there’
            If I come to an old New England home that has ...a coffee table displayed in the front parlor that ....WE ... gather around... do I... think it is ‘bad taste’... or a ‘not known of’... or... a... ‘forgotten’ about’?  And who... do I feel... is winning the war of the ‘restored, preserved and decorated’ ‘old New England’... ‘home’?
            I have seen told... as the correct answer to... to what an old New England home... is.  That rebuttal came as thunder and rage from a woman whose kitchen ‘renovation’ had just hung fire when a well known head of a Maine preservationist group told her that she was in the process of ‘destroying’ a remarkable survival of a fully undisturbed 1750’s ‘fireplace kitchen’ that her... “builders” “FOUND UNDER” the old 1930’s “WALL BOARD” of the kitchen in... her... prominently located coastal Maine ‘built in 1742’ ‘cape’ ‘homestead’... that she was in the process of “ripping out” (her words) to ‘put in’ a “NEW KITCHEN” including the historically correct ‘island’ counter space... in the middle of “THE ROOM”.
            The ...feather edge boarded old red painted ‘original kitchen’ was fully exposed by the ‘builders’ who ... instead of shutting up... actually found their discovery to be “REALLY NEAT” and... so... word of the ‘discovery’ ‘trickled’ so a ...code enforcement officer ‘heard’ and ‘went to see’ ‘it’ WITH ‘someone who would know’ tow and I... well... ‘happened by’.  The really, really neat was that aside from the ‘over the top’ ‘in your face’ ‘complete’ ‘originality’ of the exposed colonial kitchen... that included the removal of a 19th century wood stove that ‘had been there forever’... was that at the upper right where the wall/ceiling corner meet... was an “1807” hand written in chalk... saying... in very brief... that ....this is where the original kitchen ended and we put today this ‘in 1807’ ‘butted on’ half cape addition to this house here at where the old kitchen wall ends... so... ‘the two brothers’... could ‘share the house’.  “Cool” was my personal reaction while the code enforcement officer jested as to ‘did they have a building permit to do that”.  Ms. glowered.  Her builders stood ready.  The solution came... and came to be ‘executed’.  The whole kitchen and its walls were ‘left’ ‘undisturbed’ and ‘covered over’ with ‘sheet... rock’.  This was, for the most of the expanse... ‘screwed’ on in a sixteen inch ‘squared’ grid pattern that ‘can always be undone’.  The screwing got a little aggressive ‘in the corners’... but... .  The ‘island’ was allowed to be.  The ‘new kitchen was... ‘put in’ OVER the ‘old built-in’ cupboards AND where... ‘that old cupboard’ (now in the shed) ‘had been’.  Presuming the cupboard is STILL in that shed... the ‘solution’ endeavored to created this tales understanding of the... in this case whole kitchen... being ‘pitched’, ‘upside down’ but... ‘still there.”
            After six years of continual ‘renovation’ the property has now arrived at ... ‘restoring’ the shed where the cupboard ‘is’.  I... notice this because... inclusive of my ‘go to Hell’ feelings about all of this craftsmanship... I CARE.  So... I ‘happened to swing by’ to report that:  At this exact moment... the cupboard is ‘still there’ although ‘moved out of the way’ by the builders.  Ms. has not been to the shed ‘at all’, ‘ever’, ‘maybe once’ or ... well... I don’t ever see her around because... ‘she hasn’t come up yet’ (from out of state).  I am watching for her.  I am watching the cupboard.
            I’m going to get that cupboard.
            “You watch”.
            Odysseus, in the epic poem The Odyssey, is ten years at war and then ten years getting back.  The epic poem of the old New England home... is four hundred years old... now.  Its odyssey is a perpetual of battles; an Iliad.  I am a foot soldier this odyssey and Iliad.  My shield and sword combat... most often... and daily... equal armed foot soldiers of ‘bad taste’.  This is so consuming that I don’t ever have time to consider WHERE that ‘bad taste... came from.  Insensitivity?  ‘Forgotten about’?  ‘Not known of’?  Is its source the congestion (Part Six [D]) as an evil ‘in jar’ packaged ‘spread’ ‘upon’ “GOES GREAT WITH EVERYTHING”?  Or are we... becoming an I... that are... “TOO SENSITIVE” ... about this... THIS:  The... phony lifestyle of the... compliant - complacent... coupling companionships and head nodding hypocrisy of running the hand of wonder over the ‘stain resistant’ soapstone topped kitchen island of ‘THIS’... is New England... right side up?

            I am, I remind, ‘still there’... fifteen years ago...and ... two thirds of my way around the ‘second room’ of the The Savage Family Estate and I....?
            No...:  I am neat and tidy... thrown out.  Packed up, bagged, folded shut, picked up, put out and...had to take myself away.  With my salt and broken plate... in my pockets.
            It was lunch time that day of I... with Helen and... “Time for you to go I have to meet ‘them’ for LUNCH”
            I said... “Ah... ok.”
            “I’ll ...GET back to YOU... BY APPOINTMENT.  ...  NOW:  I don’t want to SELL the little clock today (Part Fourteen [A]).  I REALLY FEEL it’s worth MORE than thirty dollars.  Aunt Minnie LOVED that little clock and I just don’t feel RIGHT about just SELLING IT to YOU.  You understand I’m sure.”
            I understood that... I didn’t recall offering to PAY thirty dollars for the clock although I said it would be WORTH thirty dollars... didn’t I?  So... I mean... THAT DAY at THAT MOMENT... I wanted to buy it for, like, five bucks.  I was adjusting my personal moon phases... merged with my professional moon phases... and the ‘crazy as a shit house rat’ appeared to be ever more a ...very real directive.  I... “Ah” and then ...backed out.  That is... GOT OUT ...with a couple of puff ball professional superlatives like “I got THIS FAR around this room so I’ll START HERE the next time.  Unless... I really could move a lot faster with all of this... IF... I... could... just walk through the whole estate... real quick.  I...”
            I was in the first room now... heading for the door OUT with Helen... BARE FOOT HELEN... padding along RIGHT AT MY BACK.  The front door to the estate is open?  OUT on to the top step ...I step... into sunlight and late summer MAINE.  “Thank you.  Good bye.” I hear myself saying... as I step down the steps... of the Savage Mansion.
            I went about my business.  Then I went home.  I told my wife about the visit to Helen’s and showed her the child’s plate and open salt... ‘she gave me’. 
            “Maybe she IS crazy.” my wife suggested.
            “I don’t know but I guess I’ll find out.”
            “Your going back?”
            “I guess so; she said so.”
            I had-had just enough time ‘since’ the morning to run over my data gathered and have a personal/professional conclusion; a ‘layout – feel’.  It was (is)... as I previously noted...:  The whole estate; the mansion... is one big attic.  Based on room one and room two... the estate is ...loaded... with the ‘it’ of ‘antiques’ and possibly truly ‘good things’... ‘bailed right in there’ is said.  IF... all the rooms are like those rooms and as full and virgin as those rooms... it is a great estate FULL OF STUFF.  If I could ...just SEE IT, I ‘can tell for sure’.  THAT was (is) my professional answer to any query of ‘what do I think’.  This whole structure; the mansion, was a whole time capsule of the whole Savage family?  All there; piled in there, room after room... after... well... there’s got to be a kitchen... then... let us include a... Helen’s room (bedroom) (“Yikes”).  A bathroom... or TWO (double “Yikes” again)... but... OTHERWISE ...including barns and outbuilding GALORE... IF... it is as all ‘untouched’ as what I’ve seen... and EVEN WITHOUT true antiquarian GOLD... ‘this one’s loaded’.  That last qualifier was the nagging REAL TRUTH... that as old New England estates go... this one WAS (IS) NOT ...that old; 1850’s.  THAT caps it from the rear; no Colonial stuff.  But, again and none the less... loaded.  “Gotta be.”
            What happened next I did not expect.  I ... put in a bill for three and a half hours of estate inspection... to ‘the bank’ and was promptly paid.  And... that was a turn around of under fourteen days.  And... I was ready to go again.  I planned to push hard to ‘skip’ completing the close inspection of the second room and ...push hard... by suggesting and... forcefully demanding to ‘walk through’ the whole estate.  Suggest, push hard, then demand.  “Try it.” was the plan.  I am ready to go.
            Then Helen got me good.
            I did not ‘hear a thing’.
            AT ALL.
            FOR WEEKS.
            A month.
            THEN MONTHS.
            THEN A
            So I figured it was ‘over’... after ‘a year’... went by.
            “I must have done something”.
            So I scratched her out.

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