Dedication: To Wesley H. and Madeleine M. Clark
Okay, so this photo collection and group of essays documents my parents' failures with interior decoration. So what? The point that needs to be made is that while they were both born and raised in the East, they quickly adopted the postwar California lifestyle and became Californians; residents of a state in which taste is no requirement.
Looking at these photos you may get the impression that my parents were excessively what one might term "working-class." This is too simple a label. Actually, they just lived the "anything goes" leisure-oriented lifestyle prevalent in Southern California (and especially prevalent among the working class in the San Fernando Valley, where I grew up). With their hard work we became relatively affluent in the booming Los Angeles economy, and with their money they bought the things they regarded as luxuries: a swimming pool, many generations of patio furniture, a trash compactor, many television sets, and an endless procession of cheap furniture. While our house never had an interior decorator's touch - forget "Roseanne," our house was the real thing - it was comfortable for our little family of three.
Last, and most importantly, my parents trusted and loved me. (Perhaps they trusted me too much!) In all the years of my childhood I never wanted for anything. While I didn't learn the rudiments of taste from them, they did the best they could and I love and thank them both for this. I wish they were both still alive; I'd love to be able to talk to them and find out why they did the things they did and how they grew up - stuff we normally don't care about growing up.