Jackie’s Tears

Feeling the endowment: the new library takes root.
Feeling the endowment: the new library takes root.

You have to live in a space before you can decorate it properly. After five months I’ve realized I made some mistakes. Mainly the furniture in the living area is too large.

The Avery Boardman sofa bed, Ligne Roset togo chair, and Pastoe credenza that were so happy in apartment rooms 10 x 22 and 12 x 12 seem pretty miserable in their new, limited studio space. They look cramped and uncomfortable which they really aren’t. Still, perception is everything so they’re headed to auction. Hopefully the proceeds will fund smaller, more stream-lined replacements.

Until that money rolls in I continue to tweak things. Last weekend it was getting books off the floor and finishing the Jackie installation. Two simple, hour-long projects that took four days.

In the 1950’s Grandmother befriended a furniture maker in the little farming town nearby. His name was Carl Dille, pronounced “dilly.” I was a kid, I loved the name. She was always dreaming up projects for Mr. Dilly and together they’d work out drawings to finalize her ideas.

Uncle Delbert gave her some planks of wood from a cherry tree he’d felled and planed (or whatever the proper forestry terms are for taking a useless tree and giving it meaning as a tool for the decorative arts). She held onto them for several years until she decided to create a Grain Dealer’s Chest.

Her style was Early American and Colonial. Which is not mine. But the lines of this chest are so simple, the look so geometric, it harmonizes easily with other periods. Plus the finish is really beautiful. Grandmother always said there’s nothing like cherry when it comes to hard wood.

Literary Lions, yes, but let's not forget our Literary Leopards.
Literary Lions, yes, but let’s not forget our Literary Leopards.

In January the Leopard began the desert stay with his head resting comfortably on this chest. I’ve since thought if I could raise him higher by about 18″ I could start to deal with all these books.

As everyone knows the trick to hanging leopards is to get the head positioned so you can work backwards to stretch out the body.  Which I did except the supporting shelf was loose and his toothy grin kept sliding off. So with one hand I balanced the head, straightened the shelf and held the screw in place. With the other, I tightened it.

I concentrated on holding this contortion so intently that I forgot about the elbow. It swung wildly and knocked over a stack of coffee table books. They hit the wi-fi router with a force so majeure it broke the prongs in the coaxial cable. I had to wait two days for Time Warner to reopen to get back online.

Her eyes are on the urinal.
Her eyes are on the urinal.

There are two things I remember about my trip to Helsinki. One was that in the deserted downtown crosswalks, void of traffic pedestrian or otherwise, what few citizens there were stood at the vacant intersections waiting for the walk sign. There was no life anywhere but they just did not want to take that chance.

The other memory was the Aarikka store. I bought some wonderful Aalvar Aalto things there like a white bisque porcelain life-size palm frond; a blob shaped white porcelain platter that was an impossible sixteenth of an inch thick; and my black discus.

The discus were so 60’s pop and, of course, “easy to assemble.” I have the mangled finger tips to prove it. I ended up using them as a semi-modesty screen in the kitchen window on Jones Street which, really, only Pauline next door could see through.

I recently asked her if she ever saw anything untoward in my kitchen. Or toward for that matter. She swears she didn’t but her friends have told me there were many days she had to call in sick after catching a glimpse of me making morning coffee in my underwear. Or worse.

Here at the springs I hung the discus as a valance in the bathroom window. They interfered with the cheap vertical blinds and the winds kept knocking them out of kilter.

I then tried them as an accent border around Her Serene Gaze. After several permutations the perfect imbalance was struck. I’m satisfied The Lacrimosa has been enhanced.

Each teardrop perfectly formed, blackened by her perpetual grief.
Each teardrop perfectly formed, blackened by her perpetual grief.



The Jackie Obsession


The Last Temptation of Me