06 February 2011

Well Said: Mildred the Maid

"You got your dishes, you got your home."

So said actress Nancy Walker (1922—1992) in her role as the idiosyncratic maid, Mildred, in the first episode of the 1970s crime drama McMillan & Wife. In that particular segment, San Francisco Police Commissioner Stewart McMillan's wife, portrayed by Susan Saint James, nearly gets killed when a murder investigation intersects with her search for a missing Wedgwood china service she inherited from an aunt.

I understand Mildred's sentiment completely. When I lived in Spanish Harlem, in my youth, my ground-floor apartment was utterly bare, I mean mattress-on-the-floor bare. There was also a floor lamp and my dog. That was it. I did, however, possess a set of sterling silver flatware and some 1830s English plates, which made eating Chinese take-out while seated on the floor much more comforting.