Friday, October 1, 2021

What a Hotchpotch!

One of my all - time favorite abandoned houses!
"I . . . stared out of the train window.
Like a colossal junkyard, the swamps
and back lots of Connecticut flashed past,
one broken-down fragment
bearing no relation to another.

What a hotchpotch the world was!"

from The Bell Jar ~ by Sylvia Plath
(p 112; beginning of Chapter 10)


That's me: just longing, as does Sylvia Plath,
for a bit more tidyness in this messy world,
and filled with dismay to witness these grand
old houses, so sadly neglected and in need of TLC.
Could we ever make it look like this instead?
Other side . . . hotchpotch . . .
VS Dream House!

As Gerry and I have recently learned in our quest to improve distressed aging houses, it turns out that back in the days when a public sewer system first became available in Lafayette, homeowners could OPT OUT of public safety and cleanliness. If participating in a community health initiative seemed too costly or socialist to them, they could "have their freedoms" to maintain a private sewer line, right in the middle of a city block that was otherwise entirely connected to the city mains! Can you imagine the current state of these 100+ year old private lines? Nasty is an understatement! If only there had been a "sewer mandate" we wouldn't still be dealing with this problem today.

Insult to Injury: Even though we are blessed with outdoor swim weather here in Indiana well into October, there is a chronic shortage of outdoor swimming pools in our area. One of my favorites was recently sold and bulldozed over, and guess what was built in its place? Storage units! Makes me so sad and angry to see the storage of unused crap prioritized over sunshine, clean water, and exercise -- on prime real estate, at a a major intersection in Lafayette. What a hotchpotch!

[A few more favorites in the neighborhood.]

P.S. 2023
Look whose recent use "hodgepodge"
echoes Plath's use -- 60 years ago! -- of "hotchpotch":
"During a recent tour of Xiongan New Area, a city roughly 60 miles south of Beijing, President Xi Jinping told the state-owned news agency Xinhua he opposes street stalls. 'The capital is first and foremost a political center, not a hodgepodge. It cannot run factories in alleys or engage in a street-stall economy,' he said." ~quoted in The Daily Upside

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Barbara McFadden for sharing these lyrics:

    House Where Nobody Lives
    Sung by Tom Waits

    There's a house on my block that's abandoned and cold
    The folks moved out of it a long time ago
    And they took all their things and they never came back
    It looks like it's haunted with the windows all cracked
    Everyone calls it the house
    The house where nobody lives

    Once it held laughter
    Once it held dreams, did they throw it away,
    did they know what it means?
    Did someone's heart break
    Or did someone do somebody wrong?

    Well, the paint is all cracked,
    it was peeled off of the wood
    The papers were stacked on the porch where I stood
    And the weeds had grown up just as high as the door
    There were birds in the chimney and an old chest of drawers
    Looks like no one will ever come back
    To the house where nobody lives

    Oh, and once it held laughter
    Once it held dreams, did they throw it away,
    did they know what it means?
    Did someone's heart break
    Or did someone do somebody wrong?

    So if you find someone
    Someone to have, someone to hold,
    don't trade it for silver
    Oh, don't trade it for gold
    'Cause I have all of life's treasures
    nd they're fine and they're good
    They remind me that houses are just made of wood
    What makes a house grand,
    oh, it ain't the roof or the doors

    If there's love in a house, it's a palace for sure
    But without love it ain't nothin' but a house
    A house where nobody lives
    But without love
    It ain't nothin' but a house, a house where nobody lives

    Source: LyricFind
    Songwriters: Thomas Alan Waits
    House Where Nobody Lives
    lyrics © BMG Rights Management
    Jalma Music