Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Saint Dwight of the Flea Market

I picked this up on eBay the other week. This was a risk of a purchase, where I wasn't quite sure the item would live up to my expectations. But the risk was a $1.99 risk, as I bid only the minimum and there were no other bidders. Poor saps, 'cause I scored. This item -- an Ike and Mamie plate -- turns out to be many times more bizarre than I had thought it would be, and I thought it was pretty darned bizarre:

flathead mamie

I point out the obvious: A pink border with ornately unattractive gold decoration. A strange mummified expression on the faces of "America's First Family". An oddly flat head on Mamie. And, of course, the stunningly strange phenomenon of a presidential portrait on a dinner plate.

See, I never did understand, even a little, why you would put an image like this on a plate. Are you supposed to push aside the lamb chop to view your Commander in Chief? Is Mamie's face a reward for finishing your mashed potatoes? I suppose plates like these are not intended for the table, but for the plate racks in your dining room hutch. But that doesn't really answer my "why" question. I mean, if you want a colorized image of the President and his wife to display, why not get a painting or a photograph or a print? Why get a plate?

Ok, but the super wonderful surprise is that this plate is much worse than the image intimates. The actual color is notably more intense. Ike and Mamie look as if they have been made up for their coffins by a bad mortician. In this image it looks as if Ike's lips are slightly tinted. On the plate itself it looks as if he is wearing a thick coating of red lipstick that extends beyond his lipline.

This plate did not simply go into a pile of other odd plates, oh no. This plate now sits in a plate rack on the wall of my dining room, like the Mona Lisa or Dogs Playing Poker.
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