Saturday, September 3, 2011


Whoever brings the mail in from the lobby each day will toss the so-called junk component onto the top of the small black steamer trunk, one end of which is visible here. And that is the sign for Mabel Watson Payne to hurry over and take possession of the catalogs and ads and charitable solicitations, which she confidently regards as her personal property. Her first task (self-assigned) is to throw each item on the floor. After that she will pick them up one by one and determine how interesting they are.

Last February her mother and I bought several lightweight loose-woven cardigans and pullovers in the Eileen Fisher shop at Bloomingdale's. This was when we were shopping for back-to-the-office clothes at the end of my daughter's maternity leave. The flyer held by Mabel Watson Payne in these photos was sent by Bloomingdale's with the latest looks from that same shop (but nothing super-tempting, so far as we could see, in the current crop).

Somebody might -- and I can see the point -- object that this poor baby is already being brainwashed into the Church of Consumerism, just by having free access to the random printed matter that floats into the house. Personally I would probably even plead guilty to that charge, with the caveat that there is really no choice in the contemporary USA about whether a middle-class child will become a member of that Church or not.

And since membership is inevitable, it follows that one might as well get some entertainment out of the whole process.