|The ditto machine, an early copier. A little before my time.|
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Thursday, December 13, 2012
I don't know about you, but nothing makes me feel quite so old-fogeyish as thinking about the way I used to work. Remember Liquid Paper? We went through gallons of it at Cosmo in the 1980s. Putting together the magazine required wax machines, X-acto knives, toxic chemicals, and many workers. It required a typesetter (remember them?), who was located in Indiana. It required a messenger named Louie, who came to the office every day at 4 o'clock and took "the pouch" to LGA, where it was put on a plane to Indiana. Despite the slowpoke technology, the work got done in a timely manner. Then publishing went digital. Companies downsized. You could make a correction in an eye-blink, but you worked 50, 60, 70 hours a week. The Way We Worked, a collaboration between the Smithsonian and a bunch of local orgs, opens this weekend at the AVA Gallery in New Hampshire and I wish I could go. The building that now houses AVA used to be the H.W. Carter factory, makers of overalls and other work clothes. The factory closed in 1985, but some of the workers are still around, including 94-year-old Thelma Follensbee, photographed by my friend Jack Rowell, who has eight portraits in the show. Talk about hardworking. Jack (who is my age) and Thelma are two of a kind. Jack has an old Subaru crammed to the gills with photographic equipment. Before I can get in the Subie, Jack has to spend half an hour clearing a space for my butt. And my butt is not that big. I mean, that’s how dedicated he is: His car is not a chick mobile, it's a photography studio on wheels. I’m tickled that Jack’s work will be shown in tandem with the Smithsonian exhibit. The show runs through January. Check out the special events and the lecture series here. PS: Jack lives on Fogey Drive in Braintree, Vermont. And Liquid Paper was invented in 1951 by Bette Nesmith Graham, a typist who made lots of mistakes. Bette made the first few batches in a blender in her kitchen. She called the product Mistake Out and offered it to IBM; the company said no thanks. Bette renamed it Liquid Paper and continued to make it in her house. In 1979, the Liquid Paper Corporation was sold to Gillette for $47.5 million with royalties. Sometimes, there is justice. PSS: Bette’s son Mike Nesmith, guitarist/singer of The Monkees, inherited her fortune.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
|The coffee table in Mireille's living room.|
|The windowsill above Idora's kitchen sink.|
|Maurice Texier, 1940-something.|
|Idora and Ransom Tucker, 1940-something (Dad's in uniform).|
|A Provençal landscape, by Mireille Texier.|
|A Vermont landscape, by Ransom Tucker.|
|Detail of a plate displayed in Mireille's dining alcove.|
|A plate displayed in Idora's dining room.|
|Miniatures kept hidden in a box.|
|Cork people by Sara Phillips, kept hidden in a pouch.|
|A collection of stuff that might be useful someday . . .|
|. . . but probably not.|
|Souvenir from a beach holiday (Spain, perhaps?)|
|Souvenir of a trip to the Georgia coast with me.|
Sunday, December 9, 2012
|Kelly and Forrest at home.|
A few of the highlights from my news feed: A link to an article about my Randolph neighbor, Renaissance man Forrest MacGregor, profiled in the Randolph Herald by my friend Dian Parker. I am only slightly hurt that I—a college dropout who rescues dangling participles for a living—was not personally mentioned by Forrest in the following quote: “Vermont is a unique place. Here you have a cheese maker with a PhD. A farmer who studied at Vermont Law School. An engineer who sculpts. Such pockets of novelty! It is a place where the mind can flourish.” Forrest is currently working on a piece of performance art that involves an 1881 Mosler safe and a sledgehammer.
Patrick, by the way, has accused me of mentally stalking Forrest and his wife, the lovely and talented Kelly Green. He thinks I’m obsessed with them. In my latest Forrest-and-Kelly dream, I went to their house and let myself in. This is not stalking. We are neighbors. Remember how Ethel on “I Love Lucy,” would just waltz into Lucy and Ricky’s apartment whenever she felt like it? She never knocked. Neither did I (in the dream, I mean). Anyway, I was barely inside the Green-MacGregor house when I heard somebody snoring, and I tiptoed out. End of dream.
In other news: My cousin Paul is, on last report, migraine-free. He was last seen on Sylvia Cooley’s time-line looking aesthetically challenged (from a fashion standpoint) as a preteen in plaid pants. (Don't you just love oldies?)
Now I am going to call my aunt Ruth and my aunt Lois and then watch TV with my husband. And thus begins another glamorous week in France.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
|Around the corner . . .|
|. . . and into the park . . .|
|. . . then along the canal . . .|
|. . . past an army of shrubs . . .|
|. . . over the cobblestones . . .|
|. . . and under the nose of the castle guard . . .|
|. . . to the duck pond. Et voila: My Sunday stroll.|
Saturday, December 1, 2012
What have I been up to since arriving in France? Well you might ask. Here is a partial list of my activities for the past 72 hours:
— Snorkeling in the Caribbean with my friends Kelly Green and Forrest MacGregor (pictured below). We left Randolph, Vermont, by boat on Wednesday, returned by boat later that day, and in between, saw many fish, mostly rays, and lots of pretty blue waves. This innocent escapade inspired a torrent of rumors in the town of Randolph, all of them disappointingly false.
— Dueling. My opponent was somebody male, with dark, shoulder-length locks—d’Artagnan, perhaps? Various weapons were employed, most memorably a dagger. We fought to a draw.
— Working in a welding studio. My job, key grip, involved moving many large pieces of equipment around. When I got tired of this, I reminded my boss, Allan Mayer, that we had been promised time off in honor of National Poets Day.
— Brokering an arms deal with the help of my friend Hank Buermann. Hank was in charge of sales; I arranged the financing, aided by my sister Martha. A large shipment of weapons was involved, for sale to the highest bidder. I made several clandestine trips to a Swiss bank, in an effort to obtain $40,000 in financing. In the end, Martha and I resorted to a bundle of personal loans from friends, who were understandably reluctant to sign an affidavit, required by federal law, stating that they had been informed of the purpose of the loan. It was all very stressful. Somehow the Hale Street Gang was involved—as investors, I believe.
— Designing curtains for a friend's new store. During a lengthy consultation with my client, Nancy MacDowell, the term "sheer" came up—a term I defined as “like looking at something through the fog.”
To backtrack: I arrived at Orly Airport on Wednesday afternoon, four hours late and suffering from a relapse of the flu. For the past three days, I have been recuperating. My chief remedy has been sleep. But a very fitful, restless sleep, filled with exhausting dreams. Maybe the local cough medicine is to blame. I have never done any of the above in real life, I promise.
|My snorkeling chum Forrest MacGregor. Photo by Jessamyn West.|