Teahouses, Madams and Shoes


My Hideaway

Pile of shoes

The Writer’s Arsenal

On to a story of teahouses, madams and shoes.  This is my hide-a-way. It’s really a shed but we call it the Teahouse. Hubby built this shed because he got tired of being hit by a shoe every time he interrupted my writing time.

But something strange happens down at the Teahouse. My mind hovers over my body, refusing to focus on anything but the peacefulness of the setting. Thus not a word has been written down in the Teahouse.


By the way, the lady in the above photo is none other than Miss Jane Austen (seen in  a better photo to the right).  Hubby bought her for me thinking she might inspire me to write more.  (Or throw fewer shoes – she’s so ladylike.)


Here is Miss Jane Austen with her friend Vincent Van Gogh, whose detachable ear somehow got stuck on Manet’s nose. They’re a tasteless, vulgar menage-a-trois. Tut!

Perhaps Faulkner was right. The ideal place to write is not a sanctuary but a place with nights of chaos and quiet mornings, like a house of prostitution. Which brings me to madams.


All that’s left of the Mapes Hotel, sniff.

Prostitution is legal in many counties in Nevada, “legal” meaning that registered brothels are subject to all sorts of rules and regulations enforced haphazardly by eminently bribable officials. I babysat for a madam once. She owned a brothel outside of Vegas with one of those sinisterly cute names like BunnyTail Ranch. She was staying at the Mapes Hotel in Reno in order to visit her grandchildren, ages seven and nine, whose parents were not in the business. At the time, my mother just happened to be working at the Mapes where, when not procuring teenage babysitters for infamous madams, she did the bookkeeping. Now, my folks were respectable sort of folks, but, you have to keep in mind, in Nevada it’s not at all uncommon for people in the sex-trade or racketeer business to hobnob on the golf course with doctors, lawyers, and judges.  It’s an equal opportunity debauchery state.

I babysat the madam’s kids in a suite on the top floor of the Mapes, while the grandmother madam attended a Bill Crosby show.  She paid me twenty dollars an hour (a princely sum back then) and said we could order anything we wanted from room service!  She didn’t even care if the kids hopped on the beds. She had her “man” pick me up at my house and return me long after midnight. He was wearing a gun! Now, how cool was that for a fifteen year old…

The Mapes is gone now. They blew it up to build an ice skating rink. Oh the horror! Best chocolate malts and french fries in the world, all gone now.

I promise, next blog, no more whorehouses.

3 thoughts on “Teahouses, Madams and Shoes

    1. The place where Faulkner had a job as a landlord was called a “house of pleasure” and probably had a fairly elite clientele. I’ve seen brothels that, being a southern gentleman, he probably would not have been comfortable in! But it is true that locking oneself away to work doesn’t work for everyone!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s