06 September 2011

I like to keep it classy.



My childhood neighbors, the Robersons, liked to dip things in gold. Brass, actually. Shoes, watches, army hats, pieces of machinery...even a guitar pic from a guy who played backup for Elvis. Nothing was too good to get the dip.

The Robersons, a lively retired couple, were known across the neighborhood for throwing impromptu Samba parties in their driveway complete with Perry Como music and custom cocktails with exotic names like Swamp Gas and Singapore Sea Breeze.

Mrs. Roberson would don a sequin cocktail frock and wheel out the bar cart, while Mr. Roberson flirted with the neighborhood females, regaling war stories from his days in Korea. See this scar? Man doesn’t get a scar like that at the beauty parlor, no sir, that’s a bohica burn that’s what that is. Battle of Old Baldy, that's what that is. They never saw us coming.

And everyone would shake their head and click their tongues as if to say, I know. I know. I saw it all go down on M.A.S.H. last week.

Folks would bring their own glass, sometimes a bottle, and sometimes, on special occasions, Mr. Elfman from down the road would bring his world famous whiskey milk punch. I am not proud to say that, at age nine, my first experience with alcohol consisted of ten feeble sips of Mr. Elfman's milk punch followed by a mighty spray of vomit across the side of Roberson's garage. I don’t remember much after that, but one of the neighborhood boys later described it as, The raddest spew ever!

The next morning at breakfast, my father informed me that me that I would be going back to Roberson’s house to apologize for 1. Vomiting all over the side of their garage and 2. Drinking their booze without bringing any for the host. The issue of underage drinking never came up.

Mortified and still slightly whoozy from the milk punch, I ran over straight away, going so far as to offer to weed their garden or scrub down their garbage cans....anything they wanted, just so long as it didn’t involve another drink. Mr. Roberson, who also looked a little whoozy from the night before, slapped his knee and declared, Charlene, let her polish the brass. I hate that shit and you're too old to see straight. Then led me to the library where I proceeded to spend the day polishing brass knick-knacks with a tube of Close Up cinnamon tooth paste.

Mr. Roberson was partner in a tool and die factory that made parts for heating and cooling systems—not what you might call glamorous work but made him a lot of money. So much so, every time a new cog or gizmo made him a dollar, he had that dipped in brass and mounted on a piece of wood to put on display in their home library. Business flourished and the collection never stopped growing. That afternoon alone, I polished enough brass pieces to fill the shelves of their wall-to-wall library bookshelves, plus Mr. Roberson’s highly intricate war-themed chess set, complete with brass canons with real cannon balls. There’s real gun powder in them cannon balls. Don’t polish too hard, less you want to the amo to go and blow off your hand.

I polished slowly.

It was hard work, but at the end of the day, I stood back, impressed with my work and declared to no one in particular, One day I will be the sort of grown up who has a room full of golden knick-knacks.

And here we are.



Last week my apartment was posted in a house call from Apartment Therapy, wherin I mentioned my “solid gold garden gnomes” which prompted an email from Alice, who asked, where are your gnomes and where can I get some of my own.

Well Alice, these are not only garden gnomes, they are naughty garden gnomes: one is pooping, the other is mooning. If I could have found one in mid-vomit, I would have purchased it too. SUBTLE NOTE TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS: MY BIRTHDAY IS AROUND THE CORNER.

The gnomes started out as traditional plastic garden gnomes—a gag gift. I always wanted to put them in my garden but feared they would get stolen or offend someone. Then I though, well, if I am going to offend someone, why not do it in solid gold. Tastefull. Trump-like. I always wanted a room full of solid gold knick-knacks. No time like the present.

The pooping gnome was painted in antique liquid brass, and the moon gnome was done in 24k gold leaf, because, you know, I like to keep it classy.

25 comments:

  1. classy indeed! I once wrote an essay on polishing that I read in front of the whole school assembly, I loved it as a kid, maybe I need a bit of brass in my life. Brasso and Silvo were my nanna's tools of the trade. nothing like seeing a little sparkle emerge from under the white cloth.

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  2. these are amazing! Love the Midas touch.

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  3. i have no words. (in a good way)

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  4. I love these and think I need some for my hard to go along with the buddhist statue. Love your story!

    xo Mary Jo

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  5. Sorry, I don't think my comment made sense--I meant to say, I need some of these to go along with the buddhist statue in the backyard. These gold gnomes are amazing!

    xo Mary Jo

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  6. This is great. Thanks for the modesty patch because there's only so far I want to see up a gnome's keister, gold or otherwise.

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  7. At 6am I was laughing, thanks for classiness! At 6:20, after coffee... I was searching for a plastic moonieGnome. I want to bronze patina mine. It will look OhSoNice with the roses!
    Enjoy! And keep hangin' wit' your Gnomes!

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  8. Fabulous. As always. And with the price of gold going up that mooning gnome is going to be worth more than my 401k soon.

    Your brass polishing story made me think of a crazy lady I cleaned for while in college. She had a bedroom with, I am not joking, 3 full-size closets full of shoes which she had me clean, still not joking, with Spic and Span.

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  9. Humom hates gnomes and is now calling the ASPCA to report you for making the ever fabulous Lola live with these ugly little buggers....sorry!

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  10. My favorite thing is gold spray paint! The best kind is from automotive stores. I like several coats so the item looks like it was dipped in gold. I don't know if I could go for naughty gnomes, though. Most metal finishing shops are out of business now. I used to have lots of silver items dipped in gold and brass items cleaned up. I wish I could find a place that would plate brass. Ann

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  11. this is nothing short of pure excellence!! your my hero

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  12. What sort of magic place did you grow up in that had instant driveway samba parties? I want to live in a neighborhood like that!

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  13. I envisioned the neighborhood ladies drifting around the Roberson's driveway in kaftans like Mrs. Roper...

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  14. I don't know what's funnier, the brassy gnomes or the milk punch anecdote! Hilarious!

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  15. You made my day! Will you come be my neighbor?

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  16. You never fail to have a fantastic story to go along with your crafts. Now I’m thinking about what I can dip, foil or paint! Keep on keeping it klassy!

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  17. I love gnomes and have been searching for a gnome for my home. Plus, I wish I had one ounce of your creativity!

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  18. Gnomes in rude poses?! Hahaha! You have elevated them to specialness, my dear Peaches! And I want to go back in time and live next door to that couple. Or wait, I could just start acting like them...I could be them in 2011! (It's great to have a goal.) Thanks for another fab tale to add to Peaches lore.

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  19. I love your stories. Love them. Had a bad day and it was made happier reading your post- just what I needed- a Little Aunt Peaches! :)

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  20. Oh my goodness! I HAVE THAT MOONING GNOME! And guess what? It's been all over the world with me. Unfortunately he is right now in a box somewhere in Las Vegas.
    I have all these pictures of Fenrick (that's his name, of COURSE he has a name) in Spain, in New Zealand, on the Chesapeake Bay... but I never really quite figured out what to do with the pictures. MOstly I thought he should have a funny blog, but I'm not very funny :(

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  21. Back in the day, my Mom was known as "Miss Ammonia" for her cleaning techniques (it's a miracle I'm here to tell the story, after breathing in all those fumes) and/or "Queen Of Gold Spray Paint". Everything in sight was "antiqued"... first with a solid coat of white or black, to be followed by blotchy, runny layers of gold. I like The Roberson Family.... I think I'll throw a dance party in our driveway, for our upcoming anniversary... a big one... but then, I don't "do" socks. Love ya, Auntie Peaches. You're a bright light.

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  22. I'm so happy to have stumbled across your page! I was never big on gnomes but seeing them naughty & gold, I think I must make one! I love your story, it brought a smile to my face, thank you!! wonderful!

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  23. I tried really, really hard to find you a vomiting gnome, without success. I did find another mooning gnome who can blow bubbles out of his butt:
    http://www.mooninggnome.com/bubble-blowing-mooning-gnome

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  24. They need a peeing gnome :3 Or gnomes getting busy, xD Those would look awesome in gold, and would make killer wedding presents! 8D

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