The Living Room - 1966

We always regarded the living room as our formal, or showcase room. This picture was taken during a Halloween party - an illuminated pumpkin sits on the piano stool behind the drapes. Decor includes Dad's framed Old Spice ships; I gave him a gift set for his birthday and he liked the ship logos so much he cut the box apart and framed them. I don't remember when we got that gold Queen Anne-ish wing chair, or where we got it, but we kept it until it almost literally fell apart. Then we gave it to some people across the street.

Over the years those particular neighbors collected more of our cast-off furniture than the trash man or the back yard ever did. They were also notable for having the neighborhood's longest chain of trash cans, put out every Tuesday morning for collection (this was before aluminum beer cans were recycled). The remarkable thing was that all that trash flow never seemed to help the exterior or interior appearance of their house, which was always an utter mess.

Notice that furry blue throw rug under the chair? You can also see it in the April 1970 den picture, in front of the fireplace. It served duty in the bathroom as well, where it got in the way of the door. We always got plenty of use from our throw rugs. I remember seeing it in the back yard as late as 1975.

Mom adapted the antique copper server (it sits on a carpet remnant on the Mediterranean table) as a planter. She was very fond of the bisque Ma, Pa and Huckleberry Finn statues that sit in front of it. I think they represented our family to her in some inexplicable way (or her family, or a Shirley Temple film family, or something). After I accidentally broke off Pa's pipe she lost interest in them and they were thrown out.

That's a Ben Cooper (Collegeville, PA) costume on the chair, by the way. Standard Halloween wear for kids in the Sixties.

This picture was taken in 1967, after my birthday in April. I know this because I put the little plastic spacemen that were on my 11th birthday cake into the planter, poking around in the giant alien foliage. (That's that yellow thing - obviously an early Star Trek influence.)

Mom demanded the Old Spice ships removed - this was too much, even for her - and the space next to our grandfather clock is blank. I remember, however, that the holes remained for years until I plugged them up and painted over them as a teenager. (You never knew when you might want to take a girl you wanted to impress through the house!) That grandfather clock, by the way, was the best thing we had in the house by far. I still have it. An Ithaca clock of 1912 vintage, a dealer once offered me $2,000 for it sight unseen. Mom got it at a Goodwill store. They wanted $50 or $60 for it - Mom hid the key and complained that since she'd have to find one she should be able to get it for less. $40 exchanged hands and the clock was hers.

Notice that the furry blue throw rug shown in the previous photo has been moved to protect the carpet from our big Mediterranean coffee table. This table had three pieces of faux marble set into the top. I later cracked the big center piece, but I forget how. Anyway, the table and the marble pieces wound up in the back yard, inevitably. I used the marble pieces as tombstones when I became interested in the soap opera "Dark Shadows," and set up my backyard Clark Family cemetery. (One of the wooden tombstones was, of course, antiqued avocado.) No one ever ended up buried in the family cemetery - there were laws against such things in Southern California - but it was fun coming up with imaginary ancestors with Old Testament, colonial-style names ("Jedediah Clark," "Ezekiel Clark," etc.).

That white Louis the Somethingteenth sofa on the right edge of the photo is the same as the one shown in the 1970 Den picture. (Like the blue throw rug, or a pioneer looking for better land, it migrated all around the house.)

Next photo

Home Page