The Ballad of the Hermetically Sealed House Trapped in Time

After my grandparents passed away, we cleaned up their house, fixed the heater, bought new beds and linens, and left. The plan was to visit as a family every month or so. But everyone gets busy and the months pass. My sister, Heather, moved to Hawaii. This made get-togethers even harder. We still manage to get together as a group each July 4th. It's odd to open the door and find the hermetically sealed house, virtually unchanged since my grandmother redecorated in the late 1960s. We've considered splitting up the furniture, art, and objects, but there's so much we have no idea where to start. And my grandmother's style ran toward the western Victorian genre. I've considered bringing one of the sofa sets, marble topped tables, and Victorian gas lamps home, but I think I would have an odd result. At best, the design would have the feeling of the Haunted Mansion, at worst, Liberace.

We still find odd items in the drawers. I found a huge set of 35mm slides last weekend, and a really groovy napkin thingamajig. I remember this napkin set from our ranch. It was in the guesthouse bathroom and went with the red, white, and blue Americana wallpaper. We never used them because they seemed so fancy. I look at this now, and try do determine the rationale. Someone made the decision to green light this design. I try to imagine the meeting; “I’m seeing an oddly drawn guest towel set based on the menu of a Victorian bath house. But make sure it’s wonky.” In any event, I like these along with the ancient packages of Dixie cups.

Something to offend everyone!

My good friend Erica, her husband Tristram, and two boys are moving to Los Angeles from London. I advised her to show Tristram The Loved One before committing to the move. The Loved One is a novel written by Evelyn Waugh, and made into a film in 1965. It is a dark and macabre comedy following a young British poet after his uncle commits suicide in the backyard of his Hollywood bungalow.  Aimee Thanatogenos is the beautician at Whispering Glades cemetery, based in Forest Lawn who our British poet is pursuing. She lives in one of those insane condemned houses on stilts that everyone is convinced will collapse in an earthquake. One of the film’s highlights occurs when the chief embalmer, Mr. Joyboy, takes Aimee home to meet his rather large mother. This movie is a cross between Six Feet Under and the Addams Family. If you like Forest Lawn, pet cemeteries, Liberace as a casket salesperson, Milton Berle freezing dead poodles in Bel Air, a bleach blond Rod Steiger, you’ll love The Loved One.