Sunday, January 20, 2013

This Can't Be Love

by Drew Martin
I am in the middle of a major closet cleaning/reconfiguration in an attempt to restore my mini home gallery. I have piles of clothes everywhere, which include old leather jackets I will never wear again, and a stack of suits that never really fit me well in the first place.

In my grand vision of the universe, everything has a purpose so it is hard for me to throw something out without thinking about how it might fit into a future art project. Last time I tried to throw out an old suit it turned into my homeless self-portrait project.

Looking at a pile of my clothes brought back memories of the former Your Hit Parade star, Dorothy Collins (1926-1994).

When I was 10, we moved out of a tiny house in Montvale, New Jersey and into a new, bigger home across town. For a few years one of our immediate neighbors was Dorothy Collins and her third daughter, Melissa. Dorothy was born Marjorie Chandler, in Canada, and adopted her stage name in her teens. At that time she lived next door, she went by Holgate, after her second husband and father of Melissa, actor Ron Holgate, who she was divorcing at that time.

Dorothy was a bit eccentric. She lived in a beautiful old house and said there was a ghost in it that would open up the dishwasher door at night. We did not see her much but as young boys we liked her because her driveway had a roundabout, around which we would race our bicycles, and we all had a crush on her daughter.

The most memorable day at Dorothy's place was after her divorce when she decided to get rid of her ex-husband's clothes. She piled them all up on the part of the driveway that stretched between her house and some woods, soaked them in lighter fluid and lit them on fire. It was just her and every kid in the neighborhood, fascinated by this adult torching her past.