1. The Green Sofa Picture

I don't know what happened to the mock Oriental carpet. We still have the metal bookshelf but we no longer have the nice big book on Vincent Van Gogh (resting on other books in the bookcase). One of our dogs ate it. On the top of the bookcase the strange-looking object is a silver-plated pitcher that we got for a wedding present. In our town, in those days, newlyweds (generally at least a few years older than we were) moved into tidy apartment complexes. We opted first for a more affordable old gray house on the hill which was $75 a month (would have been $65 but we had to pay the landlord $10 a month for having him replace the broken windows), the second story shut off and occupied by pigeons, the first story entirely occupied by the roadside junk the musician who lived in the house before us collected off the side of the road. Two or three VW transmissions. An old school bus in the back yard he wanted to turn into a home. He had promised to remove the junk but never did. And it was, seriously, junk. Nothing we could turn into furniture. We moved out when winter came and we turned on the one gas space heater in the house that was unfortunately in the one room we could use and found out that it leaked. Plus, the pigeons and the sounds of rats fighting in the walls had begun to get to me, as well as had the cockroaches that were the size of mice and which nothing killed. And I was tired of having to put on boots when I got out of bed just to make my way through the junk to the bathroom without fear of stepping on something that was alive or a rusty nail. A fraternity took the house over when we moved out and did what I dared not do, which was clean out the second floor of all the pigeon guano and rat skeletons. Before they began to fix the place up, one of the fraternity brothers camped out there for a week and occupied himself with shooting the rats. Eventually someone purchased the house and renovated it but it never did look right.

The second house we moved into (the one pictured above) was a two story in the decayed downtown area. We lived on the second floor. A wonderful old man by the name of Mr. Baines lived below us. He occupied himself by taking care of his two cars and his beloved cat. He enjoyed having us as fellow tenants. When we moved out and into the bottom floor of the better-maintained house next door, he didn't care for the people who moved in after us and purchased for himself a small house nearby which was about the size of a closet. But it suited him and he was very proud of his first house which he said he planned to live in until he died. The fourteen-year-old son of the woman who moved in after us did things like get in the car at 3:00 AM and ram it into the tree in the back yard to express his anger. Much drunken shouting and threatening of doing harm with knives. Eventually they disappeared. This apartment shown above had heat in only a couple of the rooms. The kitchen would be so cold in the winter that when you left the water in the faucets dripping to keep the pipes from freezing you'd get up in the morning and the water coming out of the faucet would be frozen. But it had a lot of walls that were great for hanging big canvases on. By the way, the cardboard boxes in the photo aren't trash. They were from a picture frame shop I briefly worked at (when I quit they told me they were going to fire me because of my frizzy hair anyway, which isn't very frizzy in the photo), glass had come in them, and they were the perfect size for storing drawings.

Mr. Baines used to drive a taxi and liked to tell the story of giving Louis Armstrong a ride.

Click away this window to return to the Sofa Vitals page.