She lives in the north side of town, the rich section of town. I come from the place where, every time they tap an open hearth, the temperature of our house goes up twenty degrees, every time the Bessemer converter goes off my bedroom lights up like a Christmas tree. When the fourteen-inch Merchant mill is running at full blast it’s all night long BOOM BOOM BOOM, and you just know they’re running a big lot through that mill. I live in that world, and Pearl lives on Beacon Street where there are big trees around houses that are at least a half block back of the street and there are snowball bushes out front, and where the Buicks hum as they glide home from the office. There are maids with little white caps, dusting things. Do you know what that means in a place like Hammond, Indiana?
Once in a great while, when they would put me on another paper route, I would deliver down Beacon Street. It is a place where some houses get three Chicago Tribunes delivered. What do they do with them all? I can imagine people in different wings of the house being served them in bed with their tea. Pearl lives on Beacon Street.
I’m standing next to Pearl, trying to figure out what you do. And I say, “Pearl, it’s Friday.”
“It’s Friday, Pearl, a…at the Orpheum…”
She says, “Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.”
I say, “Yeah!”
And she says, “I’d love to go.”
In my limited knowledge and understanding of such things,
I recognize three major types of organized gardens:
French, Japanese (done with plants and/or stones), and English.
I think of French gardens as symbolically the type one sees at Fontainebleau—taking nature and distorting it into an un-natural rigidity—nature’s beautiful variety shorn into a mechanistic horror. The “garden” in the film, “Last Year At Marienbad” disparages by only slightly exaggerating the fascistic stiltedness.
France’s Château de Villandry
& the “Last Year At Marienbad” gardens
Japanese gardens, for me, are the fusion of nature with human sensibility, adding a conscious esthetic to the not-quite-organized-enough glories of what mother nature produces. Shown here are the Japanese garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, and the best-known Japanese Zen garden in Kyoto, Japan (designed 15th century). I’m not sure what to say about the utterly stylized, intensely esthetic, formal rigidity of rock gardens!
English cottage gardens have been described as “the perfect combination of charm and artful chaos.”
Landscape design should be a working with nature to create an esthetic synthesis. We have Machu Pichu, Scottish link golf courses, Maya Lin’s Vietnam Memorial. The opposite is the inhuman, anti-nature desecration of the French nobility’s idea of elegance. In a comparison between formal style and a certain abundance of emotional exuberance, I’m for life, vitality, exuberance. I think it’s obvious that I very much appreciate the Japanese fusion of nature with human sensibility, and that I’m completely enamored of the artful chaos of English cottage gardens.