Friday, July 19, 2013

Unpack the Luggage La La La...

...Hi-ho the glamourous life!

If, by glamour, you mean complete chaos.

It's a funny thing, having a mass of possessions one hasn't seen for 15 or so years dropped suddenly on one's (metaphorical) head.  The movers apparently had never heard of such a thing, and if nothing else were extemely and volubly startled by (a) the sheer amount of assorted small Victoriana I went in for in my 30s and (b) the quality and durability of the wrapping paper used by their long-ago counterparts.  That really got them.  Well, that and the Barbies.  Yup, they've survived.

From left to right, Billy Boy Barbie in a trashy combo of fishtail gown, white fur, and bare feet; Black Barbie in a community-theatre production of My Fair Lady; Heart Family Grandma (possibly the only - discreetly - wrinkled Barbie ever made) stylin' in a Golden Girlsische pants ensemble and anklestraps; and an early '90s Midge jaunty in '60s red-velvet swing coat and slacks, oblivious to her missing red pump.  A few of the girls have fallen victim to an ailment of the aging Mattel product, the dread Sticky Leg Syndrome (which apparently requires treating with warm water, dish soap, and some follow-up talcum - thanks, Internet!), but that aside all seem quite as ever.

And I bet you thought I was kidding about that silver lustre luncheon set, didn't you?  Here it is, in part, in all its Nile-green horror.  Why do we hold on to these things?  What is their power over us?  As far I as I can remember, Great-Aunt Edna got it as a wedding present in the early '20s from her eldest sister, Great-Aunt Lenora (a woman equally remembered in the family for her irascibility and longevity - she made 99, and would have gone on longer had she not gone into that home).  Lenora's husband had a department store in Ohio, and her gifts tended to be things that hadn't sold well last season.  In this case, one can see why.  A couple of decades later, Edna re-gifted it to Mother Muscato (possibly for her wedding - wartime scarcity was probably a wonderful excuse to pass on all sorts of things), and so it came on to me.  I don't think any of us have ever used it, and none of us have had the sense to jumble-sale it, and now I guess we're stuck with it in perpetuity.

Still, in the midst of the mayhem, there has proven to be one oasis of calm; Koko has fallen madly in love with my grandfather's tufted armchair, an object that combines comfort and indestructibility, as it possesses a steel frame of such heft that it took two movers to carry it into the apartment.  What I'll do for a chair if the dog proves as immovable as the item itself (Mr. Muscato having already commandeered the only other unsprung, unfragile item of seating, a thrift-shop settee that I think we'll have to replace) remains to be seen.

As does exactly how we're going to integrate all this into the several tons of things now making their way here from the Sandlands.  I'm thinking we're simply going to have to install floor-to-ceiling shelving in the back bedroom and start charging admission.


  1. oh my's like I've climbed into the most fabulous attic of all!

    I love Black Eliza's attitude. She clearly is *not* having it.

  2. (as sung by an angry Black Barbie in full Ascot Gavotte drag after 15 years cooped up in dark, dank, miserable storage)

    Just you wait, dear Muscato, just you wait
    Boxes empty but your tears'll be too late
    Apartment full but no more money
    Will I help you? Don't be funny
    Just you wait, dear Musacto, just you wait

    Just you wait, dear Musacto, till you're sore
    And you scream to fetch a doctor to the door
    I'll be off a second later for rehearsal at Ford's theater
    Oh ho ho, dear Musacto, just you wait

    Ooo dear Musacto
    Just you wait until we swim in the Potomac
    Ooo dear Musacto
    And you get a cramp in your little stomach

    When you yell you're going to drown
    I'll grab Mr. M. and go to town
    Oh ho ho, dear Musacto, oh ho ho, dear Musacto, just you wait

    Soon I'll be known to the DC social set, no fib.
    To the White House so often I will call it my crib.
    One evening the Prez will say, "Eliza, fierce thing
    I want America your praises to sing"

    "Next week on the twentieth of May
    I proclaim Black Eliza Day
    All the people will celebrate the glory of you
    And whatever you wish and want I gladly will do"

    "Oh thanks a lot" Prez says I, in a manner well bred
    But all I want is dear Musacto's head

    "Done," says Obama with a stroke
    Guard, run, bring in the bloke
    Then they'll march you, dear Musacto, to the wall
    And Barack will tell me, "Liza, sound the call"

    As they raise their rifles higher, I'll shout
    "Ready, aim, fire"
    Oh ho ho, dear Muscato, down you'll go
    Dear Muscato, just you wait

    1. And I realize this has almost shit-all nuthin' to do with your unpacking post, dear boy. But once these ideas sprout in my head, I must listen to the voices and carry out their will.

      I for one, don't find Edna's silver lustre luncheon set at all horrible. It looks almost lovely to me. I do, however, need more info on the graphic. Is it a dying crane, perhaps? A broken umbrella? Pavlova en pointe as drawn by Kandinsky?

    2. Ah, Bill, genius as always! If all it takes to get a lyric out of you is to post a snap or two, I shall be keeping you busy in the coming days...

      As for the luncheon set: I suppose, had I not been raised, as it were, to loathe it - to be in fact the third generation to do so (I neglected to not just how much Grandmother Muscato, especially, despised it) - I might be able to have a little objectivity. As it is - no can do. The design is a mystery; it if weren't so incompetent, I'd say it was calligraphic. I used, as a child, to sit and stare at it in the china cupboard and try to figure out exactly it was meant to be. It's clearly on purpose, as it doesn't vary much from piece to piece. It all just sets my teeth on edge.

  3. Now you can settle down and be a proper old lady. Or an improper one. The latter seems more likely.

    1. Muscato will no doubt burn up DC as a latter day Alice Roosevelt Longworth, or perhaps a neo Pamela Harriman.

  4. isn't it like the best christmas?