Originally Published in Soap Opera Opera Digest: Ryan's Hope Special
"I bought most of my furniture at antique stores . . . not the kind of antique stores you find in the swanky neighborhoods . . . I guess these are not antique stores, but second hand places," Malcolm admitted as he headed over to a partially scraped table. "I picked this table up for $2.00 and decided to redo it by myself. I find it very relaxing to spend time by myself doing things around my apartment."
"As I said, either my furniture came from second hand stores, loans from my friends or by finding them on the street! I used to be one of those rare New York birds . . of garbage collectors. There's a table in my bedroom that came from someone's trash basket. I'm a collector of junk and a saver. I'm wearing sweaters that I wore when I was in the eighth grade and my winter topcoat was the one I wore in the seventh grade. Who knows who wore my great old winter hat . . . I picked that up in a second hand shop. In fact (he laughed loudly) this blue jean jacket that I'm wearing was given to me by a friend who actually found it on the street."
Malcolm's apartment in West Greenwich Village was located on the street floor and consisted of two large rooms and a backyard. There was a living room and kitchen combination, a small bathroom and a large bedroom complete with log burning fireplace which Malcolm told me he lights from time to time. His bed was a mattress almost touching the floor and a great old headboard that I remembered my grandmother having when I was a child. He had absolutely nothing new in the apartment but said that he loved everything he owned.
Malcolm waltzed me out to his backyard to show me where the overflow from his party would be able to go. Scattered around the backyard which was surrounded on three sides by tall loft-like buildings, were about a dozen stone statues . . . all of which he picked up on a trip to upstate New York with friends. At the far end of the garden sat a stone Buddha.
Malcolm Groome was born in Greensboro, North Carolina and was brought up around the country because his father, Carlisle, was a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps. "Today my dad is retired from the Marines and is a stockbroker in Springfield, Virginia," Malcolm told me, adding, "With a father a stockbroker I never had the capital to dabble in the market." His mom, Jane, is a housewife who is into meditation and truth-seeking. "As a child I was brought up in the Protestant Church but today our whole family is more into thinking. My mom is now a member of the United Church which she attends with my 8 year old brother, Andy . . and hopes that my father will also join."
"I spend most of my free time in meditation and therefore do not entertain at home that much. I feel that my home is sacred and should be a place of peace. I don't own a phonograph, although I do like all kinds of music especially jazz and I've just recently bought a television set. When I'm home I do raja yoga, meditate and read a lot. I like to read novels, Tarkington, and books on Buddhism. I'm a vegetarian and do all of my own cooking using vegetables and grains. However I do use milk, cheese, and eggs, but I do not eat meat."
Malcolm also admitted that he does not smoke and that he only drinks occasionally. He says that he would like to supplement his income by doing theater but that he hasn't been able to get his heart into doing commercials. "I really would love to do a stage play and have it in my contract that I can be let out for a rehearsal for a play."
Malcolm noticed it was almost time for him to dash off to take one of his singing classes. He zipped into the kitchen to feed his cats, turned off one of his second hand lamps and put on his used hat and street-bought jacket and together we walked to the subway where we parted.