Wednesday, August 02, 2006

An old Harmony axe and the St. Clair house

This is my old Harmony banjo. I found it in a yard sale in St. Clair, Michigan when I lived on the St. Clair River from June of 1986 until the following spring, when I left and returned to Florida.

I paid twenty five dollars for it, in 1986. A few years ago Nathan was walking through the living room and it was leaning against this chair. He kicked it over, by accident of course, and stepped on the neck and broke it. Easy to do when you have size fifteen feet!

Whitey Markle glued it back together and although it is no longer intact, it still sounds great!

In St. Clair, I lived in this old green Victorian house, which had been the home of the gardener of a larger estate. The big freighters went by, one after another, once the ice cutter came through in the spring, until late in the year. I'd watched the big freighters all my life as a child, when we lived on the Detroit River. It was the best thing about that fall.

There was a salt mine down at the bottom of the hill. The semis used to haul salt up the hill all night until five am and grind through their lower gears. The old house was one hundred and twenty years old and it would sway when the trucks rolled by. I think it was torn down and they put up condos after I moved away. We had an old chestnut tree in the front yard. People came and collected the chestnuts when it got cold.

The old house had a coal shute and an old furnace that was a boiler. It was hard to light. It was a difficult house to live in. Couldn't get the washing machine to fill up or any water pressure in the shower. It was thirty nine degrees in September and the boiler broke down. The furnace man refused to repair it, saying it would probably blow up if he tinkered with it anymore. Even though I had it replaced, it was a very miserable winter with the radiators clanking and the house swaying from the salt trucks. I slept about three hours total that winter... I returned to Florida in the spring and I was so glad to be home again...

The picture behind it is called Will's Clothes. It was painted by Brian Bryson. Will was a drummer and he had taken off his clothes and laid them on a rock to swim, somewhere in South America.

Hey, I'm rambling, like the house!

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