Wednesday, March 11, 2009

INDIAN CORN COB

Don Bachardy loves telling the story of why you can see an Indian Corn Cob given as a gift from Elsa Lanchester on the coffee table in the sketch of Christopher Isherwood relaxing in a wicker chair, and how you can even see it in the painting made at the same time, but how you can no longer see it before you, on the coffee table right there in front of you the one that Christopher Isherwood sat behind, the one that you can see in the drawing and in the painting. It almost seems like a secret, and Don Bachardy seems a little mischievous about it.

"You see, we used to have a rat that came in here. And we decided that the only thing we could do to get rid of it was to starve it out. So Christopher and I closed all the food containers everywhere, and the rat became more and more desperate until–"

That's when Don Bachardy becomes almost giddy.

And I am looking at the photograph and realizing that it's true that the Indian Corn Cob isn't there anymore. But then I see the chair that Christopher was sitting in, head back, relaxed, the southern California sun, perhaps a visit from Igor Stravinsky this afternoon? Could we walk along the beach, where we first met?

"That corn cob must have been–fifty years old! Can you imagine doing that? I can't!"

Then it becomes just a little more quiet. The light in the room seems to change. Don Bachardy almost sighs, but not quite. Don Bachardy doesn't say a thing.

I thought he didn't say a thing. And I am not sure if he said it, or I imagined it, but weeks later, when I am looking at a drawing of Christopher Isherwood and Don Barchardy, I am almost certain that I could hear him say "Poor, poor baby..."

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