Monday, December 30, 2013
1986 - the cartoonist's new apartment
My cartoons really started to percolate about the same time that I did. Sometime in 1985 or 86 all of a sudden I became very happy, and productive.
I took an apartment in the "East town" neighborhood of Grand Rapids which sort of fancies itself as Greenwich Village west, providing that Greenwich Village east is populated with uptight dutch people. Marvin, my landlord, I've discussed him earlier, was an outstanding influence to come under in many ways. His name wasn't really Marvin, by the way.
Marvin rented me the upstairs apartment of his Genessee Street home. The rent was something like $125.00 per month. Interestingly enough he'd only been charging the previous tenant, Bill, fifty bucks. I guess he thought is was time to up the ante.
But before I could start entertaining in ernest I had to move into and clean out my new apartment. What a disgusting job lay ahead of me.
Bill, the former tenant (of many years) was only interested in one thing:
Fishing was Bill's big passion. He'd fish day and night. He got a job at the local hardware/sporting goods store to be near the equipment that his employee discount put into his reach.
One of the problems that he left for me was the detritus of his hobby. The musty, musky shag carpeting (orange, thank you) was a mine field of fish hooks, long lost and embedded in the shag just waiting for an unsuspecting foot to happen by.
That carpeting was also saturated with Bill's favorite bait - salmon eggs. Like electric orange BBs made of jelly these fragrant little fertility bombs were liberally mashed into every highly trafficked area of the floor. I spent the next month cleaning salmon eggs out of every nook and cranny of the apartment.
A stinky essence pervaded every inch of that apartment.
Having my sister Fran along for the initial recon of the apartment was very helpful...unlike me, she could see beyond the filth, stench, and degradation. She insisted that the place had real possibilities, especially for a young man in my position. Trusting in my sister's judgment I held my nose and gave Marvin the check.
When Bill moved out I moved in and the frenzy of cleaning began.
(only slightly exaggerated)
Though daunting, the task of cleaning this stable was nothing that time, ammonia, vinegar, and elbow grease (and a strong stomach) couldn't accomplish. Eventually I'd established a pretty nice little roost for myself to take the best of what life had to offer.
Marvin and I also became pretty good pals and we spent many a happy hour on his front porch watching the wanna-be bohemians of East Town promanade by. The Pembroke strip below was informed by some lazy afternoons on that sagging but cozy couch on the porch.
And it only gets better,
Stay tuned (and turn down that music!)