Fred Stone had money; he'd sold his business
sometime in the
sixties, and thereafter received large checks in the mail every
He used his fortune to buy junk. Before he'd winnowed his
I'm told that he had a warehouse, somewhere in Cambridge.
"Fred had a table, twenty feet long, covered with
bolts, end up,
sorted by size. You know, it was a tough neighborhood (Central
Square), but it was good to be able to go over to Fred's place.
were always photographs to look at (Fred had been a photographer for Le
Courbusier, and had collected filing cabinets full of old glass
negatives, besides.) or you'd go sit in the old denist's chair,
whatever. It was a real good place to grow up. Kept me out
When I stepped into the basement of Fred's small
house, I could
barely walk three steps from the stairs. His reduced collection
the entire place. Only his wife's cats could sqeeze though.
and fur were so thick, I couldn't breathe, let alone sort through the
vast and dark world of junk.
A dozen old friends were called in, to sift a
treasure trove that
rivaled Charles Foster Kane's. There was a pile of rusty toy
and rolls of lead flashing. My brother and I found a pair of old
cans, and when we pried them open, out spilled a delicate collection of
shrimp-sized driftwoood. There was the reclining dental chair,
before the turn of the century, made from wrought iron and complete
with twining vines and red velvet cusions. There was a thick
postcards and gilt-edged letters, the collected love letters of Fred's
own grandparents, written in their elegant antebellum manner. We
a fragment of a book titled "The Complete Hiƒtory of the World",
1740. We found dozens of blueprints, some of them from Le
and a film script written by Lance Hendrikson, the grizzled actor who'd
been his friend. We found old movie posters, Fred's junk cameras
from every decade of his life), the old Hawk missle nosecones, his
favorite pieces of rust.
We gave away as much as we could; the photos and
were taken in by friends. I ended up with all the movie
film. A local
contractor, who happened to be driving by, took the dental chair.
But after all that, came two twenty yard
dumpsters. We overloaded
them. A lot of the stuff was useless; old business
filing cabinets. But most of it was the carefully collected junk
master. Nothing should have been thrown out. It was much
dig him a grave forty yards deep and fill it, like a pharoh, with him
and his posessions. Instead, the intense zone of junk he'd
washed back into chaos, the sea of refuse. It was the worst thing