Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Quarantine

Monument at Pere LaChaise, Paris

In the last ten days, I've not left the house except to go to the hospital. Bill took me to the ER after witnessing one too many of my violent coughing spells. I received a tentative diagnosis of Whooping Cough, or as it now known, pertussis. Pertussis is apparently extremely contagious, so I've been quarantined until the antibiotics render me noncontagious.

For most of the time I've been sequestered, as I'm pretty weak, I've been occupying myself by sorting and organizing my collections of antique engravings, postcards and vintage "orphan" photographs. I've never really thought of myself as a collector of anything. Yet, somehow, over time, I seem to have amassed groups of things I like, and decided I couldn't live without. Thankfully, the largest of these groups of things are two-dimensional! (That is, if you don't count useful stuff, like furniture.) All of these groups of things (which will be henceforth known as "collections") were started when I was still a child. My brothers and I grew up going to auctions with our parents. For a fraction of our allowance we could buy an ugly, mint-green table, a china-head doll, a (slightly scorched) pair of wooden shoes, or even a box lot of old pictures.

So anyway, I've been immersed in images from, and of the past. Yesterday, as I was staring vaguely out the window at the little birdies pecking at seeds in the snow, coughing into a handkerchief pressed to my lips, I realized I reminded myself of a Victorian consumptive confined to a sanatorium! Here I am, wandering listlessly from room to room, handkerchief clutched in my palm, settling now and then at the table in the library to put my pictures into albums. And I've been quarantined for an illness I thought had been confined to another time. Quarantined! God! That is SO century before last!

Here is a tour of some of my favorite haunts from over the last week. If you would like to join me in my personal Wayback Machine, we'll begin in the rarefied air of plate engravings:


The Dog's Ambition

Madame Pompadour


Chapel of the Virgin, St. Sulpice

Monument of the Bouchee Family, Pere Lachaise

Calais, France (not Maine)

German Engraving from late 1700s

London Stone

In Part II of our tour, we'll visit the odd, amusing and sometimes slightly sinister highlights from my "Orphan Photographs" collection:

Hair Proud (The first in my collection)

Hello? Really Can't Talk Right Now

Little Kid Tries to Capture Shapeshifting Doggie

Little Kid Tries to Capture Shapeshifting Doggie (detail)

FiFi Demands a Solo Portrait

Jed Is Just Like a Son to Us

I Control Dollie With the Sinister Power of My Mind

Zombie Coed

Discovered At Their Evil Games

 Two Old Witches With Their Familiars Are Confronted By Foul Soul-Sucking Entity

 Banished! Begone, You Foul Soul-Sucking Entity!

Shreveport, Louisiana c. 1920s

Mad Killer Dolls Come Alive At Night 

Jump In! The Water's Fine.

Manic Monkey Grabs Self & Lampshade

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