Nobody's Property Episode 03: My Mother's Egg

For a few years while I was growing up, a book called How to Do Your Own Divorce sat undisturbed on a bookshelf by our living-room fireplace. It just sat there, its paper spine facing out, between Passages and Last Things. This was in Southern California, on an alluvial fan of the San Gabriels, in a little falling-down house on Twelfth Street in Claremont. We moved there when I was five years old. My father’s parents, Charles and Edith, had fronted him the down payment for the house and planned to hand over the title when Dad came up with the roughly three thousand dollars to pay them back.

Music by Kristin Hersh: or

Here's an interesting resource. Love the cover photo of the couple on the beach!

1 comment:

  1. This episode, My Dear, is a bit of a wrench…in a good way. You tread more gently, I think, than you are aware. And this three-time-offender needs to amplify just a bit. Yes, I bought the two photos in question from a gallery on Union Street a month or two before my discharge from the Navy. I spent $70 for the two, not $400. However, if one consults the archives for Navy enlisted personnel pay charts, then and now, one will discover that $70 then and $400 now represent, very closely, the same percentage of monthly income; that is, plus-or-minus 30%. Fairly outrageous, even with my moonlight jobs inserting law library supplements for radical lawyers around San Francisco (the revolution didn’t pay that well, somehow they never do). But the images beckoned in a way new and compelling to me; and asserting myself by acquiring them was an irresistible impulse. At one in the same time a budding aesthete and a self-indulgent scoundrel.

    Those photos have endured for forty years. Where they hung in each of the places we lived -- where the Egg has hung in each of the places I’ve lived since – is etched in my memory. Even now the Egg is a daily source of wonder, delight, and inspiration to me. But there were felonies committed: the unilateral decision to purchase; my bullying and begging to take the Egg with me when your Mom and I parted; and, worst of all, my sending her a scaled-down print of it from an inter-negative I had done in 1996…an insult-to-injury if ever there was one. In the misdemeanor category: I have been known to tout the Egg from time to time as the only possession your Mom and I disputed when we parted, as if that gave it additional gravity. In my mind it does. We both can identify the familiar pattern. If the Egg were the Rosetta Stone (and in this story it may well be), then I share that patch of barren moral ground occupied by the sorry likes of the British Museum.

    So, why the lapse of time between posting and this comment? It takes a while to exhaust all the potential rationales and excuses…a little like pleading “nolo condendere” in a “thamzing” (struggle session) of my own making.

    The piece:
    By: David P. Wong
    Title: 1966
    Negative: 60-8
    Date: 1/66
    Print Date: 3/67

    I think Wong is gone now. I have located an article about his work in Photonews, a German publication:

    PHOTO NEWS July-August 92
    David P. Wong: The meditative perspective
    Text Author: Denis Brudna

    Perhaps I’ll luck into finding his executor. We’ll see.

    As for the dope-smoking…I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Keep it up. It’s working.


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