Sunday, February 12, 2017
We Wander in the Worlds Left by Tennessee Williams and Great Writers at Our Peril.
A crew was working in the backyard of Tennessee Williams' final home in New Orleans, the house he hoped to spend his final day, dying in the big brass bed. Why? He loved in that big brass bed. Now, not to be a ghoul, but did this wish come to fulfillment? One has to check the biography. The big brass bed probably isn't in the building now. The two story apartment has been divided into six apartments, judging from the number of mailboxes. What about the swimming pool he enjoyed almost every possible day for two decades, give or take a year? Swimming pools are hard to maintain and easy to fill with concrete. I looked through the iron grate gate towards the yard, and scaffolding had been erected in the passageway. I heard the sound of hammer pinging on stone. I didn't see a workman who might let me wander about. I could have tried the gate but thought twice upon trespassing. One picture looks north towards St Claude with Marti's yellow painted exterior looking cheerful in the sunshine. Past Marti's awaits the park that honors Louis Armstrong. We wander at our peril in the worlds left by great writers, especially writers who experienced success. Many people have made this visit to this home marked by a bronze placque paid for by a library association. Also, there's a cottage industry in tourism and scholarship in the name of Williams. Better scholars than myself turning over the same box of facts.
Why don't I roam the Keweenaw again and really get to know how my Grandmother Aino lived in South Range until she moved? I could look up my father's National Guard records. I could figure out how my brother Ed manages to live in Corunna without going nuts.
However, I wonder if I get something about Williams. He had to hustle in his early years in town, selling and serving sandwiches made by his land lady. He loved to people watch. He dated everything, including a postcard in the collection of Marti's, signed and dated 1977.
I'm reading his plays. Cat on a Tin Roof has baroque descriptions of the light in the upstairs room shared by Margaret and Brick. He wrote COTR on a sunny terrace. From his sunny terrace on Dumaine Street, his home faced the sunrise and the park offered a long view. And look how Marti's glows in January sun?