When I was a wee lass back in the mid ’70s there seemed to be an obscene number of marginally employed parents milling around poking their noses into the business practices of myself and my friends.
If we were trying to climb the ivy on the side of the house up to the roof some buttinski would inevitably hear the crash of crumbling siding or the screams of a child and come investigate cutting our fun short.
Back then there were different kinds of houses.
There was the house where the parents had obviously been murdered by the children because it was always overrun with local kids and had no adult supervision.
There was the house with the super old parents that never knew what you were talking about if you spoke in code so you could discuss any number of subjects with out them catching on.
Then there was the super involved house where mom and dad were coiled like pit vipers ready to strike during the first behavioral infraction and you had to step carefully for fear of getting jettisoned before the ice cream treats after pool time.
The hardest for me to understand though was the house that was more important than any living thing.
It was the theme house.
Immaculate, with a manicured lawn, its interior filled with the most delightful treasures that you must never touch.
Looking back I’m not sure if it was the drinking or the massive amounts of drugs people were ingesting or the fact that your life was so bleak you needed something to cling to in order to feed your OCD but this place was a testament to obsessive matching.
I remember the first time I laid eyes on theme ladies kitchen.
It was a vast wonderland of ceramic mushroom containers, mushroom wallpaper, a spice rack that held the small warm colored bottles back with protruding mushroom tops, mushroom placemats in the mushroom pattern upholstered breakfast nook and a mushroom clock.
There were mushroom potholders and dish towels and even mushroom magnets on her brand new sparkly refrigerator.
I remember coming home from dinner at their house on a summer evening and wondering if I should mention it. Suddenly my dad broke the silence with ” wow, what’s with the mushrooms?”
Then they erupted in laughter and made inappropriate drug references and phallic jokes for the rest of the ride.
This didn’t faze me in the least as I was lost in my own thoughts. I was bewildered by a mindset that would allow that kind of methodic discipline in collecting and displaying knick knacks. Imagine the hunting and scouring you’d have to do at the local shops to amass such a collection?
There could be a room in your house with a theme?
This baffled me as well.
Maybe it was because our kitchen was in a different building altogether than the rest of our house with no heat or perhaps it was its resemblance to the kill room that Leather face emerged from with his roaring chainsaw in TCM but why would you bother?
Worse, what would you do if you tired of the theme?
Where would all the brik a brak and ceramic masterpieces go?
I found out the answer to that question four years later when Mushroom lady came to brunch and announced that she was changing gears. Now owls would be her focal point and if we came across anything owl related could we please let her know?
The next time she had us for dinner I was unable to shake the feeling that I was being watched everywhere I went due to the several thousand sets of eyes peering at us from the kitchen. If you are going to have a theme I’d say “birds of prey” should be off the table.
The photo of the VINTAGE ’70s mushroom cannister above is FOR SALE! Get your theme room started TODAY!