the living room scale
i'm fascinated by the concept of f. stuart chapin's living room scale, published in ajs in the 1920s and in his 1935 book, contemporary american institutions. professor chapin's idea was to assess social status based on objects such as the hardwood floors and magazines in the family room.
former senator and vice presidential candidate john edwards has edited a new coffee-table book on childhood homes. you can see steven spielberg's li'l house in scottsdale, danny glover's cool haight-ashbury family home (above), as well as the childhood residences of sugar ray leonard, vera wang, john mellencamp and many others. it sounds hoky, i know, but i found the houses and bios to be engaging and revealing.
what does your childhood home reveal about you? after perusing a few of the pictures and profiles, i'm convinced that we could probably learn something useful about people by seeing where and how they grew up -- and not just the living room. maybe the overgrown trees and the old jeeps and basketball hoop in the driveway are having some sort of formative effect on my kids. my dad still lives in my childhood home, so i revisit fairly often. friends who visit my current or childhood home often say something like, "ahh, that explains a lot." i wonder what they're getting at...