Saturday, June 08, 2013

The Fading History of An Adobe Wall

June 8, 2013
As per Kathy's birthday request we took in two movies yesterday at Harkin's Camelview 5: "The Kings of Summer" and "Before Midnite." Enjoyed them both.

When we built our house back in the eighties, we had an adobe wall building party and asked everyone to bring something to put in the wall.

The two adobe walls leading into the BBB Casa Ranchito (the stone work on ground came later)

A couple of my musician friends brought guitar picks which are long gone. Debbie Radina brought a cool siesta painting on hard board which has long faded to nothing.

Someone, I can't remember now, brought a Spiderman figurine which has melted away. Judy Darbyshire brought two Indian head reliefs which partially have survived (the tree behind the second wall (the entry way has two walls, one on each side of the entry) leaned into the wall and pushed out several layers of adobes, but half the head of one survives and the other one as well.

Judy Darbyshires wonderful In-din heads sleeping in the wall

   David K. Jones brought a fruit jar with the Jones, Boze And Jeanne Radio Show on audio cassettes, placed inside. I thought this was ingenious and would survive the ages, but somehow, the jar has been penetrated with a significant hole in the protruding part of the jar and it appears insects have gotten inside and eaten the tapes (although I haven't looked because it's still in the wall).

The Jones, Boze and Jeanne Radio Show Depository Has Been Compromised

The most preserved items and still visible in the wall are an upper set of teeth brought by a dentist I can't remember. . .

A wall with teeth (can't remember who brought the Corona Extra bottle part either).

The other surviving wall art is a Chevy hubcap brought by a good friend of Jeanne Sedello (I'm embarrassed I can't remember her name but Jeanne will).

Hubcap Without The Wheels, BBB Opening (lower left, backside of wall).

   So what was the date of this wall building party? If we knew, we'd be able to document how long we have actually lived in our house. One person actually had a plaque made to commemorate the building of the wall, complete with the date. I thought it would survive, but, no, as previously mentioned, the tree took out the top three rows of adobes and with it the plaque, which I promptly stored in a place I could easily find and then reset it in the wall at some point when I had time to reinsert it. Well, that was at least ten years ago and I haven't seen hide nor hair of the plaque.

   Until today.

   I was cleaning in the garage this morning, filling my fourth trash bin with my precious reference materials that I haven't looked at in years (in other words, worthless crap). Rifling through a box of papers, I grabbed a stack and started to chuck it all, but in the middle I felt something hard. A piece of metal. I threw away the paper but realized there used to be writing on the metal. Hard to read writing because the copper had oxidized and has become very dark.

he Adobe Wall Plaque That Nailed The Date

Holding it up to the light in the studio, this is what it says:

 "When asked to their home on the day of Bob's birth.

 I felt I'd established my status, my worth.

 I came only to find the Bell's had the gall.

 To ask me to help them

 Construct this damn wall.

With Love, Lee Hill
December 19, 1987

 So, the mystery is solved. By the way, Lee Hill, a woman, worked with me at New Times. That damn wall has been standing for as long as we have been living here, which by my count is almost 26 years.

Funny, but it feels like longer. But the interesting part to me is how quickly so much of it has disappeared completely (and how many "close friends" I have forgotten!), and even the stuff that has survived this long, will probably be gone in another 26 years, with the possible exception of the Chevy hubcab. And, I guess that says something about us all, doesn't it?

"It's already over what's going on now."
—Loudon Wainwright III