On the apartment grass were two glass canisters with cork stoppers, the sort of kitchen container commonly used to store and display pasta, flour and so on?in another era. I bought these in grad school, in Colma, which in the early 1970s boasted an Akron store. No one has ever heard of this retailer today. But I knew of them from my roots in Southern California. Akron had a bit of soul about it, as retail stores go. They produced a flyer full of chatty observations about their goods. Trader Joe's does much the same today. But Akron had a very moderne look about their graphical layout. The retail shtick was all about being sensibly thrifty, appreciating the then exotic imports on their shelves. Billy Barnes, a Los Angeles impresario, put it this way in one of his revues: 'At the fabulous Akron?middle-class mortals can pass through its portals?and go on a spree for a buck 93.'
So there I was, on the way home from classes at nearby San Francisco State University, buying cheap kitchen gear. I would guess that the glass containers on the apartment lawn cost less than one dollar each in 1973. It's only now, time and adulthood and shifting perspectives being what they are, that the rather gross defects in these glass canisters show themselves off. The glass tops are badly tilted. This would make sense if they were handblown. But at $.95 each, they probably weren't. No, they were probably seconds?defective goods that some store buyer understood to have an askew charm. Oddly, they still have that charm. I hope they find a good home. After 42 years in mine, it's time.