Wallpaper, Hang It All

posted in: Art, Paean, Tips 11
Not my bedroom. BUT IT COULD BE. Image: Wikipedia.


I want to hang wallpaper.

Correction: I want a professional wallpaper person to hang wallpaper for me. I love the way wallpaper looks. It’s like fabric, right? Printed cloth for the walls. I’ve shopped and found some I like very much; it’s now a matter of getting it ordered and installed.

My love for wallpaper runs deep. Out on Meadowlark Farm, when I was a small, small person, I ran through room after room of tiny floral prints on all the various wallpapers of our farmhouse. (I do recall one wallpaper featured a big paisley, though; forgive my parents for decorating a house on a budget, in the mid-1970s.)

The kitchen got a buttercream yellow wallpaper; the upstairs bedroom got navy blue wallpaper with tiny pink rosebuds and leaves. There was another, paler blue in the living room, and I remember fiddling with the seams that ran down the wall. Thought I don’t specifically remember getting in trouble for picking the peeling paper, that obviously must’ve happened.

Wallpaper makes me think of my mom.

I believe she and my dad hung the wallpaper together out on the farm, but I wasn’t around yet to see either of them papering any walls. When it comes to Mom and wallpaper, my mental image involves her alone: not with Dad. I see Mom scraping wallpaper off the walls of our new, not-yet-inhabitable house in town after Dad left us for the last time and we left him for good. I’m just sure she scraped wallpaper by herself, standing up on a ladder; I’ll have to ask my mother if she hung new paper after she was done. Sometimes, you can’t remember these things.

I can tell you, however, that if she didn’t hang paper, she painted. And then she went off to make money to feed our family. We had support from our friends and Gramma, but when I think about my mom during the time of the divorce and our move into town from being out in the country, I picture my mother scraping wallpaper on a ladder in a bare room. Then I see the whole house, and how wonderful she made it by the end.


When I started this post, I only wanted to write about how I want wallpaper in my condo, how I have wanted to put some up for a couple years, now. I wanted to ask if anyone in the Chicago area could recommend an honest/speedy paper-hanger.

My intention wasn’t to talk about my childhood, or the pain of my parents’ divorce, or the memory I have of a very lean and scary time when Mom had the weight of the world on her shoulders and my father disappeared in a cloud of confusion and angst. It wasn’t my intention to write about any of that; I just wanted to talk about the wonders of wallpaper.

(Maybe I did.)

A Wedding Today: Part One.

posted in: Day In The Life, Luv 2
Kate n' Willy's wedding day. Photo: Wikipedia
The wedding I attended today was the opposite of this. Photo: Wikipedia

My mom had to go to the Winterset courthouse today to get something for her taxes. Our house is exactly two blocks from the courthouse; we’re as close as you can get to the town square without actually being on it. I was writing at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee when Mom came back.

“I got my documents,” Mom said, taking off her winter coat. “I was in the hall on the third floor and this guy — real tattooed, rough-looking guy — was lost. I asked, ‘Can I help you find something?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, I’m lookin’ for where you get married and where the bathrooms are at.'”

I coughed on my coffee. “He was getting married? Seriously? At the courthouse just now?”

“There was a whole wedding party,” Mom said. “The girl was very pregnant, dressed in this short, short white dress. The guys were all tough guys, tattoos. I think the mother of one of the couple was there. It was very interesting.” I shook my head. That was so awesome. A shotgun wedding at my very own courthouse. I was sorry I hadn’t seen it myself. I began to ask Mom every question I could think of because it would be a great story for this blog.

“Well, why don’t you just run over there right now? They’re probably still there; I only left two minutes ago.”

Incredibly, I was ready to run at that exact moment: my sweats and sneakers were still on from my morning workout. I scrambled out of my chair and took off, blazing down the alley, the courthouse dead in front of me. It’s a total beeline over there. I pushed through the heavy oak doors and zoomed up the two flights of stone stairs to the third floor. I looked this way and that, following hallways, peeking in doors. Come on, come on.

The girl working at the desk in the last office I peeked into turned out to be Tiffany, a girl from my high school. We recognized each other at once; it was a happy, if rushed reunion. I told her, breathlessly — I looked like a post-workout maniac — that my mom said there was a wedding and did she know where they do that stuff, the weddings at the courthouse? Tiffany did (she’s the office manager) and said it would probably be the courtroom. I followed her down the stairs and we were quickly right at the door to the courtroom. There was the wedding party, just as my mother had described them.

Tomorrow, the rest of the story, lovingly told, will include:

– how I was invited to stay for the ceremony and did
– a more detailed description of the bride and the groom
– musings on love (duh)
– how I cried like a dweeb (duh)

Until then, enjoy the canapes.