Plus, a piece of wallpaper

In Current reading, Drafts, Food, Hautvoir on March 22, 2014 at 7:40 am

I can keep all the other books I brought home from my friend’s home, except one. One of the relatives in Australia wants to read it, and the copy’s been in the family since his mother bought it, her son tells me. The paperback edition was published in nineteen seventy-eight at which time it cost three dollars and fifty cents in Australia, ninety-five pence in the UK, eighty cents in Malta and two ninety-five in New Zealand.

The book is important though. Whether reading through it once will be enough, I don’t know. Important for several reasons, at this point in my own writing. The characters met in the time period when the paperback edition was published. Their lives are quite different from those Henry Miller writes about in Book of Friends.  No matter. The energy, the attitude, the speech patterns.

The seventies. The present. Most of Part III plays on a sliding scale between those  two time periods. The same people, in their mid-thirties and early forties when they first meet in seventy-nine, meeting again in two thousand and thirteen.

As for the wallpaper, installed here some forty years ago, it inspires the name of a character. Why? Who knows. A piece of the wallpaper I’m pulling down gets added to the other artefacts gathering round for this part of the ride. Ah yes. The Crown Wallpaper showroom in Montreal. Where I officiated as a salesperson, laying out book after book of samples for interior designers and their customers – until my belly full of baby got in the way. How I snagged the job in the first place, I can’t recall. Because I spoke English, no doubt. Most of the customers lived in Upper Westmount. Six-year old children came in with their designer to choose the appropriate wallpaper for their bedroom and playroom – after a late breakfast of eggs bénédicte at the Ritz Carlton.

Where are they now, I wonder, the little six-year olds who would send an order back to the kitchen because the hollandaise sauce was prepared over ten minutes ago, they could tell by the texture?


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