Of all the art in our house – photographs, fiber art, oil paintings, and “found art” – nothing captures people’s imaginations like this sandwich menu board on my kitchen wall. No one has ever failed to ask about it. Everyone loves it. It isn’t even that old. I bought it at an outdoor flea market in Hadley MA in the early 1990s. The seller didn’t know much about it, but from all the clues I could gather it had been removed fairly recently from a humble diner or luncheonette in the vicinity of Ludlow or Palmer MA.
I took it home, carefully removed, cleaned, and reinserted each letter and number exactly as they had appeared, irregular spacing, colors, and all. I removed one line at the bottom – I can no longer remember what it said – and used the extra letters to form “Bart’s Eats” in honor of my partner Barton. Later, while on a brief visit to Milford PA, Barton and I walked by an abandoned movie theater where someone had smashed a similar type of signboard affixed to its exterior. Dozens of white plastic letters lay in the street. I picked up a few and, as a joke, added them to the diner sign to commemorate an indigestible dish I had once consumed at a Vermont inn. They were meant to be temporary but are still there. If you look carefully I think you’ll spot them.