This is Day 5 of a 21-day series. For more scoop on the who/what/why, go here.
My move from New York City back to Chicago in 1986 marked the beginning of the end of many things for me: the belief, held firmly in my heart since I was 16, that I would marry the man I'd been carrying a torch for since I spied him across the room at a summer party in the city; the rather odd notion that my life would somehow magically unfold in a perfect and sensible way without any active planning and effort on my part to be its steward; and mostly, any illusions that advertising was a viable career path for me.
Never was I more miserable than that year I spent shuttling between corporate housing, my soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend's cement-modern apartment on the fringes of newly-developing downtown, and the job that brought me to my knees and broke my spirit. I was still another year away from meeting my first-shrink-slash-astrologer, but a few things mercifully intervened to help save me from complete despair, the fantastic apartment I finally found, carved out of a corner of the old Delano mansion; the Kalamata chicken at Athenian room; a few patient old friends and a few REALLY patient new ones, but I freely admit that most of the time, I filled that gaping void inside me with cigarettes and shopping.
I was an equal-opportunity shopper, provided there was a deal involved (never pay retail!); some seven years later, out of that particular funk, I remember marveling (with some attendant nausea, given my now-reduced circumstances) over the considerable quantity of cash I'd blown on crap like purses, CDs and full-head highlights. I spent $400 to frame a transit ad of Clarence Clemons I'd created during my salad days as a "wunderkind" (Adweek's words, not mine), which my then-boyfriend, partial to loft-like spaces (but not currently living in one himself) urged me on to do, saying it would make my living room of my converted Delano pad. It did, but it did nothing for the pre-war condo I ended up buying a year later, and pretty much moldered in storage spaces for various moves until I gave it up during the last one.
My very favorite places to shop, though, were flea markets. There is something incredibly soothing about sifting through old junk for treasures, and the Chicago area in the late 1980s was ideally located for sifting; the city had enough people with money and interest in collecting to attract the vagabonds who combed the Midwest countryside for what sensible people in a pre-eBay world called "junk," and everyone knows the only thing better than junk is junk that will fetch a price. The vagabonds, with more time than money, bought low and sold high; we city suckers came with small bills and left with treasures we felt better about for the haggling. It kind of worked for everyone for a while.
This is how I furnished much of my new home: the set of schoolroom-style chairs; the chrome-trimmed kitchen table I parked them around; the antique maps and advertising clock (3-V cola, for Vim, Vigor and Vitality!) that became my wall art; and of course, the two Schaeffer pen-display cases that ended up filled with knick-knacks and glassware, and supporting a small part of my eventually-vast collection of antique globes.
Once you own two of something, you see, you will inevitably end up owning many. A collection provides you with focus, and a job; it also gives friends and family easy gift ideas. I ended up with everything from World's Fair globe salt-and-pepper shakers to an acrylic, two-piece globe terrarium, the latter of which ended up housing my signed Michael Jordan basketball after I managed to kill all the plant life inside.
My collection is down to the bare bones now. The Chief Atheist persuaded me to offload roughly half of the actual world globes before our move to Los Angeles in 1992, saying (rightfully) that each one of those goddamned things took up an entire box. Brooks helped me to further winnow down the collection earlier this year; some lucky Goodwill shopper in Glendale struck paydirt.
I've decided it's time to let go of the rest now. Because I am feeling the need to be more mobile than I've been in 18 years, and I'm feeling less like I need the globes, however beautiful they are (and trust me, they are beautiful, especially together!), to define me.
This large, schoolroom globe is the first one I'm putting on the block. It is, large. You can inquire with the 'tater as to actual dimensions (miz.tater AT gmail DOT com) or bug me here and maybe she'll post them to the comments thread. We are doing this loosely, the 'tater and I. (I imagine the dimensions will definitely be up on the eBay listing, if you want to risk waiting.)
The globe appears to have been purchased by the Davis County school system for a school in Bloomfield, Iowa. I have left the remnants of the sticker on because that kind of stuff is way cool to me, but I'm guessing it will come off with Goo Gone or lighter fluid, name yer poison, if you're super-neat and orderly-like. It was not the costliest of the globes, but it is the one I would have kept, because it is the coolest. It would be REALLY cool if someone from Bloomfield, Iowa bought it and brought it back home, but it will look good in any loving home or office. (It's missing far too many African countries to be of much use anymore in a classroom situation, except as historical context.)
Unlike most globes I have seen, this one does not have an axis it rotates on. It is free! And loose! If you have issues with disorder, this may be a problem for you. But if you truly like globes, you'll love this one.
And if you don't, be careful, this could be your gateway globe.
This big-ass globe from the Davis County school system, Bloomfield, Iowa division, can be yours, wherever you live if it is in the lower 48! (I think shipping gets prohibitive otherwise, but you can inquire if you really, really want it sent to you in Hilo or Homer.) Email the 'tater, miz.tater AT gmail DOT com, and make an offer!