You know how you are driving down a street you haven’t been on in awhile and suddenly you see a building that’s been painted and you think, “what color was that before?” Or worse, a space where a something used to be and you think “what was there before?” Surely I’m not the only person that happens to.
So, I was looking through the Phyllis Diller auction catalog on-line and the living room looked the same only different. Here was this huge painting of Bob Hope, but what was really different was the red roses. They were gone. I suppose they’d been gone a long time, considering that I was first in that living room in 1970. Even the most exquisitely produced silk flower can only last so many decades, after all. There used to be dozens of them, however, in tall vases on every flat surface.
Phyllis loved red roses. I thought what a chore that must have been for Val, the housekeeper, to keep them clean. They do gather dust, after all. I know this because just yesterday I realized the poinsettias in my entrance hall are dusty. The poinsettias should have been put away months ago — switched out for the spring arrangement which, in turn, should have been replaced by the bright summer flowers that I bought when Z Gallerie had an “end of season clearance” a couple of years ago. But, heck, now it’s September and soon it’ll be time to put the poinsettias back anyway, so might as well leave them. (I heard my first commercial for Christmas last evening. Just sayin’.)
However, back to the silk roses at Phyllis’s. Now that they’re not there I’m seeing two huge torchieres that flank the fireplace. (Page 33 of the catalog.) How long have they been there? Maybe always? They’re tall — over 9′ — with eight lights, so you’d think they’d be hard to miss. The notation under them says $2,000 – $3,000. I’m guessing that’s the price they’re expected to fetch. I can’t help but wonder — where would anyone put them? I mean, my ceilings aren’t even that high. How many people have room for a pair of nearly ten foot lampstands in their house? I guess the people who will be going to the auction have big houses. High ceilings; lots of room.
Then there’s that nearly life-size painting of Bob Hope. (Page 24 in the catalog.) I don’t know when that was painted or how long Phyllis has had it. It’s been there for all the reunions and several of us had our pictures taken alongside it.
On page 15 is Phyllis’s “spotlight” picture which she painted and, according to the catalog, had all her visitors pose in front of with her. Again, we’re looking at $2,000-$3,000. And again, it’s huge (61 x 49″).
There are smaller things in the catalog — awards she has received, favorite sculptures, little paintings, even small tapestries. Things that would actually fit in a normal size home.
I won’t be going to the auction (although I understand I could bid on-line), and as I look around my house, I wonder where I could put any of this even if I could afford it — or felt the pressing need to acquire it. Hmmm… There is that blank wall in the living room above the couch. Maybe I should measure it.