My Beautiful Wickedness


Our empty living room
February 16, 2008, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I was looking at photos of my childhood living room and was surprised to find that there was almost nothing in it. There was a two-seat sofa, a three-seat couch, a vinyl recliner, a coffee table and (later, in the 1970s) a small TV. That’s it.  It was all dusted every week. The carpet was rolled up, taken outside, and thrown over a clothesline to have the dust beaten out of it every month. The floors were swept every day. In some photos, you can see the clothespins my mom used to pleat the curtains so that they hung neatly in regular folds. The doilies she crocheted out of thin cotton thread purchased at the Woolworth’s, blued them in the bathroom sink, and stiffened them with a thick paste solution of cornstarch and water. The roses arranged in the vase, she planted in a garden she dug by hand, hoed by hand, manured by hand, far away from her vegetable garden so she could have the smell of roses wafting through her bedroom at night. But notice…no books. The books were all in my brother’s room, where the typewriter was, where the microscope was, where the future was.

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