Wednesday, 26 January 2011


The playhouse.

This is the aforementioned playhouse. At night, home to ghastly ghost stories and spooky tales. During the daytime, a modest but servicable McDonald's. The drive-thru had just been invented in my part of Indiana when I was a kid and that little window on the side you can see was our, ahem, drive-thru window. The wire mesh screen stapled across the window didn't matter because you had to use your imagination. As you can see we have a small flock of wild ducks waddling their way past it and across the driveway. The little mailbox next to it has black-and-gold stick-on number labels on it, slightly askew, reading 35 1/2, because the address was of the home of my youth was originally 35. This little beloved building was the half that was that little bit extra, you know, justifying the respected dream property distinction that my childhood home deserves.

Above the porch hangs a wooden sign made by our paternal grandpa: NICOLE and VERONICA it reads, so that there is no confusion as to the true ownership of this tidy cottage. Within it was a tiny wooden cracked-with-damp table that wobbled when you sat down to it, along with a couple of school chairs, tattooed that way that old school chairs have (Chris loves Sue and other graffiti created in the throes of excrutiating boredom), and a mirrored medicine cabinet that contained the tools of our child-trade: chalk and bandaids, bunches of dead dandelions, rubber bands dried from the hot-cold-hot-cold seasonal turmoil, and of course, so many spiders you had to kind of hold your breath for fear of inhaling them.

This is an old photo taken years after the play house had enjoyed its prime.  I believe my sister snapped this shot back probably in '98 or '99 or 2000. I can't help but be taken aback by the Technicolor green of the lawn. I mean, when you're reading a book (or a short story, or a vignette, or a poem) and the writer describes the grass as Crayola green, well, this is what they're talking about. It's haunting how the little house itself pales in weary juxtaposition with the green, green grass. At this time in its history it hunkered there on the lawn, kind of sullen and forgotten, for that is what happens to childhood things, especially when you're sixteen and your parents are on the brink of divorce. Open great chasm, swan dive in. Live and learn.

I don't know why but I feel like, given the kind of I-want-it-to-be-springtime-but-it's-not-quite-time-yet trying too hard aspect of this photo, like the grass is glowing with energy that it just wants to be alive, god dammit! The backdrop of trees is a nice touch, if a little skeletal, it being the end of winter and all. This is a veritable Janus-face of the past and present, the present and the future - like O'Shaughnessy put it in "Ode":

For each age is a dream that is dying,
or one that is coming to birth.

Ah, the artists of the world. Starving. Misunderstood. Undermedicated.They talk about a muse, and they talk about creative space. For me, that little playhouse were those things. Shame I can't fit inside it now.

More updated photos of it soon - it has since been restored to its previous beauty.

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