Monday, January 21, 2008

The Mystery of MLK

As the country celebrates Martin Luther King day today, I am reminiscent of my own personal brush with him....

Before I bought my house here in South Philadelphia, I spent 6 months living in an apartment that I referred to, with much disdain, as "the dump." It was an awful place ... more awful than just about any place I could imagine. I ended up there because my previous landlord decided to convert my apartment building into a single-family home for himself and his lady-friend. It was a beautiful building, and my apartment was simply perfect. A bi-level apartment with fireplace, hardwoods, large rooms, a deck, 2 bedrooms, great neighborhood, and the list goes on and on. When I found out I'd have to move, I made the decision to buy a house and give up apartment living. Unfortunately, after months of searching I had found nothing and was on the brink of homelessness. I had to pick something fast, so I took an apartment with a month to month lease ... ala, the dump.

The dump was in a nice neighborhood, but the building left a lot to be desired. The front door and hallways were so small I couldn't get my couch in the building and had to make an on-the-spot decision to put it in storage. The dump consisted of 2 rooms -- a bedroom and a living room, kitchen was included in the living room. My stuff was packed in boxes that filled the entire apartment from floor to ceiling. There was a tiny walkway about 2 feet wide through the length of the apartment, and no place to sit except for my bed or the computer chair. I never unpacked any of my boxes except for the bare essentials -- clothes, make-up/hair stuff, computer. I never once cooked anything in that kitchen, which if you know me is a miracle. I used my microwave and paper plates -- that's it. The place was on the second floor in the middle of the building and had one window. Absolutely horrible. If it weren't for my friend Schue I think I would've ended up in the looney bin for sure.

This place motivated me to make a job out of searching for a house, and Schue went with me on most of my appointments. She was having a roommate crisis of her own, which fate had timed perfectly with my own crisis. We spent nearly all spare time either looking for houses, shopping, going out to dinner, out on the town ... any excuse to avoid our respective homes. At that point in each of our lives, "home" was a place to sleep, but definitely not a home.

Finally, after 3 months in the dump and fruitless searches with a dingbat of a real estate agent, I decided a change was needed. My new agent, Joe, had a game plan: take me out, show me a few things to get an idea of what I liked, then take it from there. Made sense. And he was quite handsome. We walked into the first place, and before I could even get to the second floor I had my checkbook out ready to make my downpayment. By the time I got to the third floor, I was planning where to put my furniture. Three months later I moved into that house and am still here.

What does all this have to do with Martin Luther King, you ask? Well when I was unpacking my boxes that had been sitting in The Dump untouched for the last 6 months, I got to a box of summer shoes that had never been unpacked. I unloaded the shoes and then noticed a giant frame remaining inside. I didn't remember owning any such frame or packing it away, so I pulled it out and took a look. It was a framed poster of Dr. Martin Luther King. Who had put this in my moving box? I racked my brains, retracing every part of my last two moves -- from my beautiful apartment to the dump to my new house. I couldn't think of who would've had an opportunity to slip a little present into my moving box. I told all of my friends, hoping someone would come clean. I mean, hey, if I played a little joke like that on someone I'd certainly want to take credit for it.

To this day, I have no idea how that picture got into my moving box. It's now residing in my basement aside a picture of another king (... Elvis). The mystery picture comes to visit my dining room table every MLK day for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. (I won't recount how that tradition started, but check out Schue's blog for the story.)

So that's my brush with MLK. Still an unsolved mystery.


Scarlett Wanna Be said...

I like that you have MLK poster and I like that you bring it out once a year...33 fabulous points to you!

Los said...

Martin Luther King seems to touch people in different ways .... in a much different way than Michael Jackson does.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Living north of the 49th, we don't celebrate MLK day, but I would be the first to agree that any day is a good day for turkey. And I'd be the first in line for a wing. Why only two? Damn fowl.

I was trying to think of something glib to connect the picture and your shoes. But I can't - it would be disrespectful.

(Plus, I have a cold, which is a complete buzz kill on the funny. Wah.)