Discovered recently during my astral travels that one of my favorite writers, Jason Grote, has been ill with symptoms that sound like mine. And I left him a sympathy note, which I’m more or less redacting in this post in order to conserve what little energy I have (hakhak).
As I was saying to meine grote, as with him, this disgusting business started off small -- a coughling and a sniffle or two -- and soon graduated into a plethora of unpleasantries.
One lovely thing that helped me through it all a birthday present from my sainted mother: ye olde Addams Family episodes, on DVD. That helped a lot on those daze when all I could do was sit in bed and moan like Lurch.
Plus it was something of an epiphany to realize how much the show influenced me as a kid. Or perhaps I should say: ratified me. I distinctly remember the time that my (sainted) mother and I visited Great-Aunt Edna’s house in Saint Louis – a mysterious and ooky manse that from the outside looked exactly like the Addamses. I mean exactly. At one point during the visit I left the sitting room on the pretext of needing to pee, then sneaked upstairs to have a look around. Room after room after room was full of furniture covered with sheets. To my young imagination, it looked like a ghost cotillion.
Edna died somewhere in the 1960s. Thousands of dollars were found stuffed under her mattress. She survived the depression, Mom explained, and evidently never regained her trust in banks.
When I moved to Portland in 2002, I dismayed my realtors by telling them that I was essentially looking for a haunted house. I wanted something at least three stories tall, preferably old, drafty and imposing, the sort of place that kids would dare each other to ring its doorbell on Halloween. Never mind that I didn’t need such a place. Houses like that didn’t exist in Los Angeles, and now that I’d moved to Wuthering Heights, I wanted a home to match.
There are many such houses in Portland, but for various reasons, I did not wind up with one of them. I like my house very much, but Morticia would not feel comfortable here.
And as for me, well … looking at her old episodes, I realized that it was the Addams home I was looking for all along. Maybe it’s still out there waiting for me.
Also during my long convalescence, whenever I grew too enfeebled to sit up, all I had to do was switch the laptop from The Addams Family to a library DVD of Cymbeline, which providentially I had checked out only days before becoming bedridden. Let me tell you. At least in this BBC version, watching that play was likely dropping a couple of ludes. I mean soporific. Presumably it's more compelling in performance...?