Back When I Was Modern

2 chairs like this, a matching day bed, a sleek low dresser, assorted tables, a floor lamp and a generous round table with 4 black leather-seated chairs all settled on top of a gold shag rug. le sigh.

If I was sure that I’d live long enough to justify it, I would get rid of everything and go completely totally balls deep Danish Modern. Also if  I had balls. Since I don’t have a dependable yardstick to measure my days left on earth, I’ll have to content myself with the chunky 10 tons of teak Quistgaard salad bowl I bought early this morning when I couldn’t sleep.

Maybe it was rattling around in my subconcious somewhere but I used to be positively surrounded by Danish Modern. It was back in the days of my first job in Manhattan and I lived on the upper East Side in a shoebox that was rent-subsidized and furnished by the hospital I committed to work for. Furnished in Danish Modern. Youth being ignorant, I couldn’t stand the stuff. I thought it was cheap and was embarrassed to live with it. As soon as I could, I traded the end tables and coffee table for a thrift-shop conquistador-style set that I painted red to coordinate with my patchwork daybed cover.

No photos survive. But!

I had to drive The Hub into the city today for a post-op check up* and as luck would have it there wasn’t a single street parking space on the whole of the upper East side so I had to keep moving for survival like a shark for 2 1/2 hours. On one of my passes of 77th Street, I went by that apartment. And here it is:


I thought this unlovely building was quite tidy and respectable. When did that tree get there? I would have remembered if we shared an address, especially with that upscale wrought iron anti-dog device around it. The inset picture gives you an idea of just how tiny it was. I had one main room of a full 9 by 12 feet, a closet, a tiny galley kitchenette and a joke for a bathroom. But it was mine and it was recently facelifted and  I used it to launch myself into the world of job-holding, wage-earning, independent-living adults. I brought along an ironing broad and a b&w Philco TV. To the basic furnishings I added an avocado green telephone, a bookcase built of bricks and boards and a set of open-weave yellow curtains from Macy’s through which the sun poured in like butterscotch.

Ok. This is photomentary is taking a maudlin turn. I also saw a cop car and a taxi crash at the intersection of York & 68th. Air bags and steamy dust every where. Also, all the street carts are halal now and say so in neon.

Anyway, I just bought 30 bucks worth of  my teak encrusted youth from eBay. I can’t wait till it gets here. Now if I can just find an incense owl like the one I used to have, I’d be all set.

*Don’t worry. The thing he needs checking up for does not interfere with his ability to tell me when to change lanes, which route to take or when to beep at other drivers. All is well.

6 thoughts on “Back When I Was Modern”

  1. Danish modern always reminds me of my grandmothers house. I just can’t get into it. It seems so thrift store to me.
    I don’t like the return of all the grandma names like Ruby, Grace, and Lila either.
    The consequences of living too long I guess.

  2. Balls deep. I need that phrase in my life on a daily basis. “Girl, you’ve just gone balls deep into the stupidjuice, haven’t you?”
    I’ve always wanted a place completely decorated from Ikea and Pier One.

  3. As I got older, I started to simplify my living quarters. I gave away or donated all those plates, silverware, prints, knick-knacks that were cluttering up my space. Nothing but a lamp is on my endtables, one special picture or print on each wall, simple drapes or blinds, and nothing much on my kitchen counter. Simple, easy to clean and best of all…serene-like.

    To each his own, I guess.

  4. You sent me a message when I was overseas and I accidentally delted it. If you’d be so kind, please resend it.

  5. My parents had Danish Modern, to me it will always be stuck in the ’70s. Can’t do it. Although a hideous orange chair my brother punched and broke his hand on is now worth $6k… but it’s in a landfill somewhere.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s