Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Artifacts: the "Ominous Trunk"


I haven't given up cooking, by the way. I've been obsessed with cake. I've said that I am not a particularly good baker, and if I had needed to prove that to myself, the last several weeks of  non-success would have done it. It is a trifle demoralizing. I think the nature of my difficulty has to do with the fact that baking is not something you can tinker with while it's cooking. Unlike say, stir-fry, where you can turn the heat up or down, smell it and taste it, and add stuff to make improvements as you go along, once you mix up a cake batter, you're locked in. You put it in the oven and cross your fingers. There is only so much slightly unfortunate cake I can feel good about foisting off onto my relatives.

So I'll show you my toys instead.

This trunk used to have a heap of defunct fountain pens and mechanical pencils in it. The disintegrating pens and things were thrown away eventually, but I kept the trunk to put my barbie doll in.

I think I got the doll for Christmas? Or something? I'm pretty sure I was in seventh grade. It was quite a thing, in our family, to have something so overtly normal. I was really a bit to old to begin playing with things like that, now that I think about it, but I didn't care. In my mind, I had finally acquired the acme of prepubescent feminine social signifiers.


I didn't realize how much paraphernalia I had accumulated for this doll until Mom sent me the trunk. I had carefully saved all her accessories, from the  the weensy coathangers, to the little rhinestone necklace she had on when she came out of the of the package. I even saved her shoes!

Damn those are some sexy shoes. I would love to have some twizzler-colored pumps like that.

What really surprised me was the number of things I had made. I remembered the tiny patchwork quilt, but not the obligatory wedding dress that I sewed metallic teal beads on, or the little matching bouquet I made out of tiny bits of nylon knit.

The funny thing is that having it here made me remember the one or two things that didn't survive- there was a pair of white chunky heels, one of which I think split in half, and there was a dress I made out of an old polyester men's shirt. The dress had spaghetti straps, and a tiny navy and white stripe in the material.

 I had forgotten most of the rest of this stuff too, but here it all is. I'm amazed that I sewed most of these things by hand. These aren't the first things I ever made, but they are certainly some of the earliest survivals.

I've been sewing for 25 years.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Artifacts: Little George and the Bee


 Lately, my mother has completed the sale of, and removal from, the house she has lived in for the past 36 years. Amen, and that is all I have to say about that.

But some strange items have made their way up out of the murk. Above left is Little George. I loved this thing as an extremely small child. I'm pretty sure he is named after a friend of my parents. I thought they looked alike. To my very imperfect recollection, there can have been no points of actual physical resemblance between big George and Little George. Maybe big George's ears stuck out, but maybe not. I think now that it was the fact that big George had a jolly and approachable demeanor. I liked him, I liked this monkey, I named the monkey George. The Curious George books might also have influenced my decision, but somehow I don't think so. I have really got no other memory of big George except his existence, and my commemoration of him with this rubber monkey.

Here's a view of George alone. He looks like he has a moustache and soul patch these days, but that's just because the yellow paint has worn off his lips. I remember holding him so that each of my thumbs fit just perfectly into one of his ears. It was very pleasing in its symmetry.

The Bee is probably the most photogenic little wad of plastic I've ever met. There's no mystery about why I loved this thing so much when I was a baby. Lookit those peekity eyes! My goodness. It's even got little eyelashes painted on it. And six cute little nubbly feet. Its head swivels around, too, which gives it more range to display surreal magnitudes of adorableness. I think my niece Bea looks like this sometimes.

I have a number of other curiosities to show you, but that's for later. Meanwhile, I'll put a few more shots of these things up on Flickr, if I remember.