|Interior of Collyer brothers' home, 1947|
People (I wanted to scream at the TV), haven't you heard of e-books? And I hugged my Kindle.
This show dovetailed with a nonfiction piece I happen to be reading (thanks again for the tip, Val!) Ghosty Men is about the legendary Collyer brothers, a pair of eccentrics who literally hoarded themselves to death in their once-mansion-like Harlem brownstone. (Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow is a fictionalized version of their story.) Sad to say, even e-books wouldn't have saved these guys.
The obsessive-compulsive disorder that is hoarding has always fascinated me. I've known people with this disease and I've seen, firsthand, the results of it. As much as I recoil from clutter-gone-wild, I understand the allure of frenetic collecting. Hardcover books, especially old ones, have always been a Siren song to me. The same is true of vintage Christmas decorations and folk art. If life hadn't staged multiple interventions and regularly forced me to rid myself of possessions, my collecting could easily have gotten out of hand.
So, to reinforce this cautionary tale and to celebrate Read an E-book Week, here are more period photos of the Collyer brothers' residence. (And you know what? As foul as this place was, and as tragic as Homer's and Langley's fate, I still find myself zeroing in on all the antiques and feeling covetous!)
|Junk removal begins.|
|Check out the windows!|