Anonymous Blonde

the anonymous blonde's photograph album!!!

this page is supposed to contain my photograph album, which is extensive and beautifully rendered; but I don't really have a scanner right now & I'm in trouble with the only person I know who has a scanner, so what can I do, really? I loathe pages that just say, "soon there's going to be something here" -- i think it's a waste of time. Therefore, I've included the captions to several of the photographs below. Enjoy!

October 3, 1969: These are my parents, Crispin Aloysius St-Etienne Toast and Margaret Undine McBlondin Rhodes, at their clandestine French Quarter wedding. They had met that summer at Woodstock: my father was the son of a Louisiana plantation owner and a student at Princeton, and he enjoyed the counterculture despite his insistence on wearing white linen suits and straw boaters everywhere. My mother was a poetess and muse, descended from a financially unstable but eminently genteel Atlanta family. She usually kept herself locked in a garrett and refused to see anyone else, but for the summer of love she had decided to throw herself beaded and confused into an ocean of drugs and lovers. Apparently she slept with three Black Panthers and two visionaries before colliding with my father at Woodstock. They made love for three days without stopping, and then she moved on; but a month into his junior year at Princeton my father realized that he had to have her, or his GPA was going to suffer, so he hired a private detective. On the morning of October 2 he arrived with a bouquet, an Edwardian pearl ring, and a skin-tight white macrame dress he had commissioned from a shriveled Creole seamstress (who guessed my mother's size from the frequency and depth of the bruises and claw- marks she had left on my father's skin) at an abandoned factory in Tennessee, where he found my mother beating herself against the wall whilst chanting the Rubaiyat (the Fitzgerald translation.) "O for a jug of wine and THOU," my father quipped as he caught my mother about the waist. She was on PCP and was not interested in getting married to anyone, but said she would if the dress actually fit her, which it did, except at the neck. Daddy convinced her that it was supposed to be that way, and they caught a sleeper car to New Orleans, where they consummated their engagement. They got married in a little piano-bar. My father later installed her in the family home & returned to Princeton, where he convinced the new coeds that he could not, regretfully, take them out anymore.

May 1970. My mother at the Princeton junior prom. She is preggers.

May 1970. My parents at the Kentucky Derby with Colonel Sanders.

August 1970. My parents during an intense moment in a rowboat. They spent the summer at Daddy's daddy's plantation, chasing gadflies or something, but my mother threatened suicide if my father left her alone again for another year. Note the scar dimly visible on her left calf: it reads "Ivy Widow."

October 1970. Mama with "Caraway Jack," a lean, hard-drinking, gold- toothed jazz bassist. She met him when he climbed into a tomb where she was lying in her underwear. She was on acid and he gave her bourbon and attention.

May 1971. Daddy graduating from Princeton. Mama is preggers with me, but is Daddy my daddy? Or Caraway Jack?

June 1971. Mama, Daddy, and me. I was named "Blondie" partially in deference to my maternal grandmother, Mrs. Richard Carlyle Rhodes, nee Dorothy "Dottie" McBlondin, and partially in ironic defiance of her: Dottie McBlondin was famous in three counties for her luxuriant head of golden curls, and always insists that they skipped a generation. When I was born, I was bald as an egg, except for three black, wiry hairs which stood straight up on the crown of my head.

August 1971. Caraway Jack feeding me milk with brandy in it so's I wouldn't squeal so loud at his gigs. You can see Mama's elbow in this picture; the eerie shadow is Daddy's. Mama convinced Daddy that CJ was a homosexual who frequented lady prostitutes, so that he let her hang around with him.

1974. Mrs Richard Carlyle Rhodes, nee Dottie McBlondin. My grandmother ruled with an iron fist sometimes, but she doted on me. She loved to dress me up in sailor suits and frills and give me matching dolls.

Easter 1974. Me and Dottie at the Easter Parade in matching bonnets.

December 1976. Daddy reading me a book about the French Revolution.

March 1977. Me and Daddy in the bayou.

May 1978. Me singing jazz standards at L'Otriche Bebe in New Orleans with Caraway Jack's band.

October 1979. Me making coffee for Daddy because Mama is passed out on the couch.

February 1980. Mama and me on the day we left New Orleans to go live with Dottie McB at her "summer house" in rural Georgia. My mother was suffering from serious complications from something -- possibly some attempt at detox -- and Daddy had been implicated in a big scandal at the University, and he thought it was best if we left town while everything got cleared up.

September 1981. Me at one of the "recitals" Dottie arranged in her parlor every Saturday that summer. I would dress up in a 1920s silk dress that Dottie had worn as a young woman (she took it in around the bosoms for me) and put on all the makeup I liked and sing and dance for a number of local gentlemen. There was lemonade and whiskey and ginger cookies, all of which I adored.

May 1982. My wedding. One of the gentlemen who came to the recitals had made an offer to my grandmother, who had felt that no money was going to be coming in and that she couldn't afford to take care of me AND my sick mother. My mother was too oblivious to know what was going on: she stood to the side sucking on a strand of her beautiful black hair and hummed that song "Rose, Rose" under her breath as the crooked priest pronounced us man and wife. I was a little weirded out, because I thought I was a little young to be married, but the reception was the best party I had ever attended. There was hot jazz and plenty of hooch, and on top of that, when I asked my grandmother if I could have some hooch, she said "Little Blondie, you are a married woman now. You can have all of the hooch you want" and presented me with an entire case of the finest hooch in America. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

May 1978: This is my husband, Irwin Mertonsley, at his graduation from MIT. He's nineteen in this picture. He was a super-genius inventor type, and he had no social skills, and was hired in 1980 by a teensy lab in Georgia to invent fake lips for rubber sex dolls. Just lips, just lips. Anyway, the company really encouraged their employees to be married, because they were Southern and didn't want them messing with the dolls, but Irwin didn't think that he could ever countenance talking to a real lady, so he purchased me at one of the recitals. I was little and weird and unintimidating.

On our wedding night Irwin wasn't sure whether or not he should do his husbandly duty. He had an idea that it was weird to have a ten-year-old wife. I was a little uncomfortable with the sex thing, being ten, and so I gave him a whole bottle of hooch and he fell asleep.

Summer 1982. Me holding court on our front porch with a bunch of sailors. The sailors loved me because I gave them tons of liquor and told droll stories and because I looked like a little china doll. They taught me some dirty jokes which I use to this day.

December 1982. Our first Christmas.

November 1983. The day Irwin took me to get glasses. O fuck, said I. Do I have to? Yes, he said.

May 1984. The night I almost seduced Irwin.

June 1984. My thirteenth birthday.

July 1984. Me cooking dinner and having a cocktail.

August 1984. The photo I snapped of Irwin making out with that hussy from marketing. She was twenty-seven and sexually experienced, and it was better that way, but I was still annoyed.

September 1984. Our divorce in Reno.

October 1984. My return home. My parents had been searching for me for a long time, and they were ecstatic to see me. We had cake, but they said I couldn't have hooch for at least three years.

June 1985. Graduation from eighth grade. I was wicked smart. I knew a lot of stuff from hanging out in Irwin's lab.

June 1989. My senior prom.

June 1989. Me, seconds after losing my virginity to Bobby Reynolds in the back of his Chrysler.

October 1992. Rocking the vote.

January 1993. My grunge boyfriend, Seth.

April 1993. Looking like goddam Kennedy in college.

October 1993. At my little publishing job I had.

June 1994. My wedding to hot-shot magazine editor Douglas Vinciennes.

June 1994. Me smoking in bed and reading on our honeymoon. He said that either I quit smoking and wore contacts or it was over. It was over.

November 1994. My time as a stripper.

December 1995. Sex-advice columnist.

August 1996. Regular columnist.

June 1999. Phone-sex operator. I started the company. I still really support it.

February 2001. Having lunch with Paul's girlfriend in Paris. She's amazing.

June 2001. Eating gnocchi.