Tony Viesto, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.
OK, I’m not really posting this calendar entry to give some carpenter in Connecticut a hard time. (Readers: Do restrain yourselves from making angry late-night calls to the phone number pictured. The person living there now doesn’t know anything about it, and just wants a full night’s sleep.)
I’m mainly posting this as a tribute to the random nature of the Internet.
Neglect your duties for so much as a day, and some person you’ve never met will call you on it, in front of the world, 37 years later. Tony Viesto might have completed every other job he ever had on budget and ahead of schedule; but this no-show is the one that gets noticed.
Isn’t technology wonderful?
The porch at 1107 Hope Street — which my grandparents expected Tony Viesto to repair on Sept. 5, 1974, and which he didn’t get to until the following day — was a particularly charming part of the house. (A picture of my brother and I on the porch, not tremendously long after Tony Viesto’s visit, can be seen on the Contacts and Credits page.)
In my memory, it was pocked with multiple layers of paint, the way wooden surfaces get when they are not painstakingly sanded down and leveled off for the latest coat. I don’t know what the white railings were painted with, but I remember they would leave a thin coating of white dust on your hand when you touched them.
Sometimes, when we heard sirens in the distance on a summer night, we would bustle out onto that porch just in time to see a police car or fire truck scream down Hope Street en route to some emergency.
And I imagine that my grandparents and great-grandma took to that porch for relief on thick and muggy summer days — though we’ve done that topic to death on this blog already, so I won’t belabor it.
For some reason, I always associated front porches with the South — iced tea and intrigue, and Yoknapatawpha County, and young men in gray waiting for their date to the Cotillion to come outside, and all that business. Wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized the nicest front porch I’d ever personally known was in New England.
It’s not there any more, of course. I wonder if the demolition crew had to take an extra couple minutes to erase Tony Viesto’s well-constructed handiwork on the porch corner post?
(A cousin of mine has been in the home contracting business in Stamford for many years; and I’ve sometimes thought about asking him whether he feels any pangs or tinges when he sees his old work being bulldozed to make way for something newer, bigger and shinier. My guess is he doesn’t care once he gets paid. But I could be wrong.)
Next week on 5,478 Days: Back to school with the Shrimp Boat.