Saturday, September 18, 2004

There's a signpost up ahead


The other day on an internet forum that I participate in, somebody mentioned a Wonder Bread store. Just your basic bakery outlet, although it appears that many of them might be closing. I'm partial to the Pepperidge Farm outlet stores myself. Big discounts on Brussels cookies -- what's not to love? Anyway, that mention made me think of the place I always thought of as the "wonder Bread House." Years ago, I remember seeing a house in Springfield, or perhaps Longmeadow, MA that was painted white, with giant polka dots in primary colors, basically looking like a giant Wonder Bread wrapper.

There are several architectural landmarks like that in my memory. Another one that's been in my mind lately for some reason, is the old boarded up gas station in, I think, East Windsor, CT. I can completely picture the place in my mind, and if I was in central Connecticut right now, I know I could drive to the spot. I'm sure it must be gone now.

What's so great about an old boarded up gas station? Well this place was boarded up, painted completely white, and across the front of the place, somebody had spray-painted "Hugh Beaumont Lives."

I drove by that place a lot when I was much younger. It was always there, and always gave me pause. I can understand the appeal of the great white canvas that was presented -- it cried out for art. (Grafitti, art or vandalism? Talk amongst yourselves.) But why that statement? I mean, sure, great band name and all, but this was, IIRC, back in the late 1970's, when the concept of "great band name" didn't really exist. Why Hugh Beaumont? Why not Barbara Billingsley? Maybe because she was still alive? Although if I have my timeline correct, so was Hugh -- until 1982, according to the IMDB. Interestingly enough, and once again according to the IMDB, the last movie Hugh was in was The Human Duplicators, which was used for an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Maybe it was just the right juxtaposition of time and pop-culture. I am sure I'll never know who painted those words, or why. But it's good to remember them, and the way they made me stop and think.

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