We spent the day at my late mother's house going through stuff. We spent the day in the spare bedroom, sorting through stuff I want to keep, things I want to let go of and pitching things that need thrown out.
While going through through the linen closet, I found this - a relic from my childhood. So I put it on the vanity (and yes, that is real Formica made to look like marble) with the mirror star in the background and that FABULOUS wall paper that came with the house, and snapped this picture just for you. Doesn't it make your eye's just ache?
So, where do I begin to explain this golden object?
When my parents decided to have their divorce remanded (one of the great mistakes of mankind) they bought a huge place in eastern Shaker - out by the Beachwood "frontier" (now the land of aging split levels) back when there was nothing east of Sulgrave Oval. That house didn't have just a first floor half bath - it had a powder room. At the direction of one of my father's infamous friends - this one an ersatz decorator - the wallpaper man was instructed to paper in blue foil wallpaper and us a silver foil on the ceiling. It was very chic. Anyhow this craptalistically gauche soap holder was plunked down on the white marble vanity, and had a matching tissue box and waste receptical.
Cherubs had great significance to Reform Jews of that era. Historically, Jews didn't have Cherubs, we had suffering. But once my father's people (and the vast network of Eastern European kin that came over on the boat) churubs bespoke of suave class, to a rich heritage and to sophistication that my father's people craved and adopted. While the WASP's in our neighborhood were mad for plaids and anything having to do with fox hunts and sailing, the Jews were adopting Louis the XVI so fast that it would have made Madam Defarge suspicious.
So the powder room has a cherub soap dish, and the living room had a cherub statue and the library had a cherub on the shelf. My grandmother had a 14" cherub on the piano in her home, and he currently is residing in our guest-room closet.
Over the years, as we left Shaker, and tastes changed, this little bugger went from house to house, and finally, I think it sank in on Mom that it was a bit on the gaudy side and she shoved it away - but she didn't toss it out.
And because I am a big softy, I can't toss him out, either. Instead, he'll come to our house, where he will live in the closet with the BIG cherub until such time that he'll be employed to shock our friends.
"You see," I'll begin, "for tonight's party, we don't have a bathroom. You'll just have to use the powder room."