#weepingbabypumpkinhead is scared by Frankenstein. #PEMHorror
1) I am not what would be described as a spontaneous person, really. So when at 8:00 AM I suddenly decided to head to Salem on the 9:30 AM train to see the ocean liner exhibit at the Peabody Essex before it closes on October 9 . . . as Leonide Massine said in The Red Shoes, "Wellllll, dat's SOMEting!"
1a) The last time I did something like this it was not really spontaneous, but it did involve a museum. Roughly 20 years ago the Clark Institute had a fabulous exhibition on Orientalism in America, which I was determined to see. Unable to persuade any of my friends with cars to go (perhaps Orientalism, like Mabel Mercer and absinthe, is an acquired taste), I spent the money to rent a car and drive three hours to lunch at the Clark, see the exhibition, buy the catalog, and drive right back to Boston. And I don't regret it one little bit!
2) Made the train with time to spare, and managed to get a seat at one of the two tables on the upper level of the doubledecker car. One guy sat across from me, and there was another man at the smaller table. So when the four talkative blonde girls got on, they inhabited both tables. (If only that one guy had sat at my table . . . ) Their dialogue included (in order) "uncircumsized p****," "chemical engineering at MIT," and "J'amazing!"
3) The price of spontaneity is the weather. I had suddenly decided to go to Salem in the rain. But, in the words of the late Miss Catherine Allen, "It is first getting onto a steamer and then onto a train!" Truly the weather didn't inconvenience.
4) I'd barely been in the first gallery of this fascinating exhibition when I heard "Robert?!" I turned to be brightened by the sight of a Very Sophisticated Couple I know! We arranged to meet for coffee in the café afterward, since everyone goes through museums at their own pace.
5) I'd barely left them when I was riveted to the screen showing an animated film of the sinking of the Lusitania! OH MY GOD! And Winsor McCay had done it! And wow, you can see it, too, 'cause it's on the Yewtybbe!
6) My goodness that exhibition was fabulous. They had everything from carved wood paneling from the Titanic to Marlene Dietrich's Dior wool suit that she wore on the Normandie to the Duke of Windsor's trunks to bits of furniture from many of the liners, ship models, delightful menus, travel guides, bathing suits, china, and who knows what else. GO!
7) Wonderful coffee chat with my friends covering overseas travel, the museum, eating and drinking, event planning, and much else.
8) Then it was up to It's Alive!, an exhibition of posters and paraphernalia from horror movies. I had NO idea Valerie Hobson had been in so many of those Frankenstein movies! And only last night I saw her in Blanche Fury for the first time. And all this time all I knew of her was Kind Hearts and Coronets . . .
9) Anyway, I love that 1930s style, and the posters were all faaaaaaabulous. So much so that I knew I needed to retrieve Weeping Baby Pumpkin Head from the coat room for a photo op. Yes, I'd brought Weeping Baby Pumpkin Head with me. I mean, October starts tomorrow, and that means Hallowe'en is soon upon us! So Weeping Baby Pumpkin Head and I had fun seeing the rest of the museum, after which it went back in my bag, and I went off to lunch at the Hawthorne.
10) I didn't spent my lunch with Weeping Baby Pumpkin Head, but with John Julius Norwich's history of Venice.
11) Later in the afternoon I had my palm read at Omen on what seems to be the main drag. (I can't remember the name of the street.) The last time I remember having my palm read was in the 1980s, and I still remember how the palmist's face changed when she said "But you get very depressed." This 15-minute reading yielded some interesting tidbits.
12) I took some notes on the reading over a decaf and a cookie at Gulu Gulu Café, and then did a bit of shopping. I came away with no books (my default) but with candles and a very inexpensive hematite ring.
13) Having been surprised at the beginning of my Salem trip by two friends, I was surprised at the end of it by another! On the train platform I was surprised and pleased to run into a Friend of Long Standing, and we talked on the platform, and then on the train, and then on the Ligne d'Orange all the way to Mass. Ave. I hadn't seen this friend to talk to in - mercy goodness, at least two years.
14) So today at least, the rewards of Spontaneity far outweighed the price!