I was having lunch last week with my friend Gayle. Gayle is a fascinating woman from the Bay Area. She's a dancer and now is also creating assemblages out of found objects. At first she was going to the tianguis to find stuff, but has graduated to the scrap yards of Celaya to find things.
While she was talking about the escapades of the junkyard searches, it jogged a memory for me of a similar episode. It happened in Houston.
It was back in the mid 80's. I was working on designing a restaurant called Elvia's Cantina and British Pub. There's another story right there in the name and concept of that restaurant....for another day. A funny, funny story actually. I was so afraid that this restaurant wasn't going to make it for the couple who were the owners, that I decided to concept it as "funky" with lots of inexpensive decorative items. Hence, hubcaps was one of those accessories.
I wanted to cover a wall with hubcaps. Someone had told me about Hubcap Heaven out on Hempstead Hwy. I remember it was summer and one of those "hotter then hell" days that you only get in the South with humidity to match. But, I had a mission.
Out there I went. There was a big gate covered with hubcaps. Hmmm, this must be the place.
The gate was opened by a man who was so short I could see the total top of his head. I'm only 5'6"! On top of his head was a tattoo of a hubcap..........can you imagine the pain to get that adornment? Yikes. It was hard for me not to look at him. I could feel laughter bubbly up in me each time I looked at the top of his head. I stifled it.
He was accomodating and showed me around. It was, it seemed, acres and acres of hubcaps. Each one I would bend over to touch, he would wax about poetically. Each one had a story. I, of course would think, because of his love for that particular hubcap, that it would be expensive. So I would ask. I knew I needed about 55 hubcaps. And he would say, "Oh $1.50" I was delighted.
I must have been out there for at least two hours. Dripping with sweat, oops perspiration, by the time I left with all 55 hubcaps. Total bill was less then $70 dollars. I thought of that little guy several times after that trip and how much he enjoyed what he did and loved those things he had to sell.
You just never know where an adventure will come from, do you? By the way, last I heard Elvia's was still open at the corner of Fondren and Westheimer. Almost 25 years later.