12/21/2016

Aunt Ida's Shroud

Gathering together Christmas memories.

What about you -- are you remembering your stories as you prepare for this holiday.

This is one of my favorites.

Christmas 1946 

Sister Mary John chose me for a role in the Christmas pageant - - - and it gave my mother a headache.

When I was in the Fifth Grade at O'Donoghue School in Charlotte, NC my fifth grade teacher chose me to be the "Mary" in the Christmas tableau after all the carols were sung by the entire school. This meant that my mother had to figure out how and make me a costume to wear.

But you could count on Mama. She was resourceful - - - she worked it out - -

and that's how I ended up wearing Aunt Ida's shroud.


12/17/2016

Anonymous Artists Tell Family History

The Christmas Tree is a special anonymous art work that families make together and treasure.


In 2005 to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary my art show ABOUT TIME at Gallery 10 was all about our family. And, Jim worked with me to create it. People were not surprised. Albums and personal content have been a presence in my art work since the 1970s. Including the Christmas Tree was a natural - a perfect fit - an album - a living art work. Family art. The Christmas Tree is a special anonymous art work that families make together and treasure.

Christmas Tree Album, 2005, ABOUT TIME
 We installed the tree - family-style - in the smaller front room of the gallery. Jim reduced the tree to half a tree so that it fit flat on the wall like a relief - to set it up as an art piece. Karen and Monica and I strung the lights and added the ornaments. (click for a larger view - to see the memory pieces) 

 Another part of the show was a collage album - made as an abacus. 
About Time, Abacus Album, collage construction created by Jim and Ellouise Schoettler
Remember - About Time.

Jim made the abacus and I constructed the digital photo cubes and collaged them


Jim and his crew, Jimmy, Karen and Monica installed the abacus . 



 The photos spanned our fifty years together and included kids, grandkids, family, friends, art pieces and special events - with collage elements to embellish and transform. 













12/10/2016

Tiers of Memories

Working with memories is like weaving or making collages - especially when I try to connect my memories with stories I might have heard when I was a child.

When I read this letter it reminded me of day I was visiting my grandmother, my father's mother, at her home. We were sitting in the "music room" when something sparked her to remember a trip to New York many year before with her husband. The most vivid memory I have of that conversation is her description of going to a Broadway theater to see "The Merry Widow." As she talked about her dress and a new fashionable hat her eyes were sparkling and she was smiling as she remember the evening.  I never forgot that afternoon.

In 1975 I went to Vienna with my friend Marie. One evening we went to the ornate Vienna Opera House to see "The Merry Widow" and the memories of the conversation with my grandmother flowed over me and I felt very connected to her although in real life I was not that close to her. It was a good feeling.

Finding this letter my aunt had given me was a "gift". So glad I wrote about it -so that I did not lose the memories of her again - - and that I connected to those days of WWI - - knowing more now about that time gives her letter more life for me.

5/13/2016


Messages from the Past - 









Do you believe in "messages" from the past? I do. Its the mysterious part of working with history.


I have been writing this blog since 2005. From time to time I stroll back through old blog posts looking for a connection, a story, or something sweet to remember. 

I had forgotten about this letter my Grandmother Diggle wrote in 1918 and was startled when I read it last night. It is such is a strong connection to what I am absorbed with today. In fact the letter and what I later learned about her younger brother who died in France in 1918 may explain my fascination with WWI.  

Maybe there is something lurking here that I will be interested to find. Or perhaps "they" have something to tell me.

So - - - - I am pulling it back to the front so that I can think more about it as I wait to see what happens.


2/19/2008

Letter from the Past - Part 1

I love old letters, whether I know the people of not. The handwriting brings you close to the person who wrote it and often there is a story hidden in an old letter. I have several storytelling programs built around old letters.


A few weeks ago an old letter fell out of some files I was moving. I recognized my grandmother's strong cursive handwriting before I picked it up. The paper is yellowed, the creases where its folded threaten to tear. The envelope is addressed to her mother, Mrs. J. W. Cobb, at 703 South Church Street in Charlotte and the postmark - 

the letter bears a purple three cent stamp and is postmarked April 30, 1918. Mailed from Madison Square Station in New York City. It is written on hotel stationery - Hotel McAlpin, Broadway and 34th Street, New York City.


On a first read the letter doesn't say much but as I thought about it I wondered if there was a story in it. I often tell people to use old documents to make a story. So, what about trying it.

First I will share the letter with you - then I will add bits and pieces as I discover them to flesh out th story.

THE LETTER

Tuesday, April 29th
Dear Mama,
This won't be much of a letter because I am pretty tired, But I just want to tell you that think I am going to have "some trip." We arrived OK this morning, and I hadn't slept much on the train. I went to bed after a hot bath and slept until about one thirty. Sam spent the day at the office, so I crossed over to Macy's and spent quite a while looking 

II
around and shopping. Had dinner with Sam and then Uncle Fred and Florence came over to the hotel and took us out. We went to Vaudenville and then to a little place - a favorite of Uncle Fred's and had some beer and sandwiches. Believe me, it certainly tasted good. Florence is such a sweet girl. She has Friday evening off and she is coming to take me over to her house.

III
Cousin Nell called me this afternoon. She will be here about nine tomorrow morning and we will spend the day together.

Hope your finger is getting better and that the boys are not too much trouble. Won't write any more now as it is late. Everything here stirred up over Liberty Bonds. Hope to see the returned heroes from France before I leave.

IV
Tell Grandma not to worry about Uncle Fred. He looks grand and says he never felt better in his life.

Kiss the boys and tell them to be good. Much love to you all. Will save some news until I see you.

Lovingly,
Louise


First - Lets' consider the cast of characters:

Louise Cobb Diggle - the letter writer- my father's mother. At this time Louise was 32 years old, they had been married nine years and in that time she had given birth to six children and was now two months pregnant with her seventh child, who would be a daughter, Loretto. No doubt she needed a break.

Sam Diggle - her husband, father of all her children, was 31 years old.

Mrs. J. W. Cobb - Louise's mother, sister of Uncle Fred, was 59 years old. Her son Walter, Jr., 31, was in the Army and overseas in France along with his younger brother, Fritz, 23. Fritz was who was named for her brother, Fred - the Unlce Fred in Louise's letter

Uncle Fred Grose - Mrs. Cobb's younger brother who was 55 and had lived in New York City for some time.

Florence - his daughter
Cousin Nell - not sure who she is.

"the boys" - Lewis Diggle, age 7, Jack Diggle, Age 6 and Robert Diggle, age 4 - Robert is my father. The other children left behind in Charlotte were Mary Cobb, Catherine and year old Betty.

Grandma- Mrs. Samuel Grose - Louise's 83 year old grandmother and Mrs. Cobb's widowed mother.

One afternoon when I was about thirteen I was visiting Nanny at 826 Central Avenue, the house she and Sam build to house this large family. She reminisced about a wonderful trip they had made to New York. I listened vaguely, as a kid 13 would, but I do recall her saying that she had a new hat, a new Easter hat, with a wide brim.

Hoping for a new slice of history.


12/09/2016

A Look Back





A look back.
This is a blog I wrote and posted September 7th, 2007 - 
Looking for something else today I came across it. 

I remember when I wrote this
I remember when Lynda tackled the alphabet
and
I remember when this picture was taken at Sacred Heart Academy - during WWII.
Lynda (5) and me (8).

In 1944 we were boarding students at Sacred Heart while Daddy was overseas (India) during WWII. He was serving in the US Army Air Corps.

Mama came to see us on Sundays. This Sunday my Aunt Catherine drove her out to Belmont for the visit and of course Koki had her Brownie camera with her. She recorded the family.

My necklace is an Indian Coin on a chain that Daddy sent to me. It was my first talisman. I wore it all the time thinking it kept him close.
When I think of that necklace I wish I still had it.

Lynda and the Alphabet



My sister Lynda, the younger, cute one here, can be the sweetest girl in the world. She can also be very stubborn and determined.

I was reminded recently of a time when her stubbonness led her to accomplish something very unusual, very difficult and questionably useful.

This past month there has been a challenge among some bloggers to create an alphabet of posts - writing a post a day in alphabetical order. Patti Digh, 37 Days has created a wonderful set of posts and I have enjoyed every word of them. I hate to see her approach Z - knowing the project will close.

Then I thought of Lynda.

Remember when you had to memorize the alphabet? We all did, you know.

Well I remember when Lynda came home from Elizabeth School - I think it was the second grade, and announced that she had to learn the alphabet backwards. And she wanted somebody to help her. She needed spmeone to listen to her recite the letters backwards. z - y - x - w - v etc.

Try it. I had to write that down to even get started.

No amount of talking could dissuade her from her task. She was determined. She knew that is what the teacher had said. She was not going to learn it forwards. She was going to learn it backwardsAnd, she did. She stuck with it until she could recite it strait through from z to a.

She and her husband Henry are joining us for the Storytelling Festival in Williamsburg in a couple of weeks. I have to delve deeper into this. Have I got my facts straight? Can she still recite the alphabet backwards? How has this feat of learning served her through the rest of her life? What other things does she do backwards?

Is it possible that the teacher really told the class to memorize the alphabet backwards or could she have said - "you're going to learn the alphabet backwards and forwards?"

Hmmm. One of the imponderables; one of the mysteries of life - I have a lot of those free floating through my brain at times.

They keep me occupied.

Its better use of brain power than trying to figure out what idiotdecided to announce to the world that the Air Force was grounding all our air protection on a certain day in September and then giving the date. Go figure. This is Homeland Security? (oops - a little blurt - sorry)

But, I stray from the topic. I wrote to Patti about Lynda's accomplishment - hoping that she will take up a new challenge and start again - z -y - x - w - ----

Patti wrote back: IF I ever do that, I will do it in honor of your sister.

Ah, Lynda!

12/01/2016

Life is a Puzzle

Momento Mori, e.schoettler, fabric






















Woke up this morning before my first alarm 
happy and smiling  
thinking about my grandson's stop-over at Dulles tonight 
on his way home to California from Amsterdam 

Then I opened my phone, 
scrolled through my email 
and was weeping 

startled by the obit a friend sent 
of someone I had known for years 
but had not known she was dying. 

The memorial service is Saturday but I will not be going - 

I am already committed to attend a shower 
for a band new baby girl 
who is expected anytime.
Life is just damned startling.

A puzzle.

11/29/2016

Six


















Lots of luck with that!

11/28/2016

A Bit of Elephant



An old sketch book page reminds me how often I have to take many parts and shift them around as I work through problems hoping to find a solution.

Lately I have felt bombarded by changes in the world that I have no answers for so I try to digest them slowly.

This reminds me of the stories of eating a huge elephant one bite at a time - not by trying to swallow it all at one time and ending up choking to death.

Not an easy lesson. But sometimes a start.

For at home care after my recent surgery I engaged a CNA - a certified nursing aide - through a local professional agency. All I asked for was that the aide be a woman and that she speak and understand English because English is my only language. She arrived next day - a slight, gentle and kind woman from Guinea who has fed me well and taken good care of me when I could not fully care for myself.

The only thing she asked of me - -
"I am a Muslim. Do you mind if I take my prayer time?"


11/27/2016

Back to Normal


 My apologies. I have not written for quite sometime because there has been
so much going on in the world I just did know what I wanted to talk about.

During the election for President I watched CNN much too much. Many have written excellent articles about the coverage - which left me, a Hillary supporter, furious one moment and then frustrated and disappointed the next. Then it was over. I am not one of the happy people. I have stopped watching CNN and anything else other than Public TV.

Fake news? What is fake news? I grew up trusting good journalists. Now I have learned that you have to be very careful about the articles you read.

I guess the biggest disappointment is seeing the appointments and reading that the Republicans in Congress are already speaking out about their plans to gut ObamaCare and then use a blunt knife on medicare and medicaid.

By November 15 I completely turned away from following the political scene because I was scheduled for some surgery on my right shoulder. All from a stupid fall in late September. I was nervous, no, scared is the more accurate word.

Held off the surgery until I completed three out-of-town performances of Ready to Serve - the story of WWI nurses - which went very well.

The surgery went well on the 15th and recovery has been easier than I expected which has been  good surprise.

So, now turning to the past to get back to normal.

Working on a new story about WWI nurses in France. I have applied for the 2017 Capital Fringe and I hope the new story will be accepted.

And then there is getting ready for Christmas.




10/23/2016

Bessie Baker: Chief Nurse, Hopkins Hospital 18, World War One





Bessie Baker, a Hopkins Nursing School graduate, Class of 1902, was assistant Superintendent of Nurses at Hopkins in 1916 when she selected as Chief Nurse for Hospital 18. She was 41 years old.

In 1875 she was born into a large family living on the  Eastern Shore of Maryland. She came to Baltimore about 1898 to study at Hopkins and stayed in Baltimore until she left for France June 14, 1917.

In their letters her nurses speak of her as warm, humorous, and good natured while also being a strong leader who expected the best from those who worked under her. 

She wrote a report back to the Red Cross on the work at Base Hospital 18 that dealt with the medical work and the difficulties  - "their ridiculous plight" her nurses lived through during in the coldest, brutal winters up to that time in France.

She vividly and poetically described the early Fall landscape and colorful foliage  "the valley blazed in a shimmer of blended color, the wild mustard tawny in the sunlight, the winding Meuse River, the meadows bright with daisies, gentians and poppies".  

On a brief sightseeing trip shortly after they arrived in France she reflected  on her visit to the village where Jeanne d'Arc was born.
"In that humble chamber where Jeanne d"Arc first saw the light three hundred years ago, I could not help thinking today of the thousands of women, French, English, and American, going to war for France, though not to the fanfare of trumpets that cheered the Maid to Orleans and Rheims." 

After the Armistice was signed and the fighting was ended,  the staff at Hospital 18 gathered for a Thanksgiving meal on November 29.

When Bessie Baker spoke to the gathering, 

"In the future when I am asked about the American Army nurses who served in France I will think of you. I will tell them how proud I am of blue-lipped women, heavy laden with layers of clothing, standing near a red-hot pot-bellied stove trying to get warm - and yet doing their very best for their patients. 

We came to do a job here, You have done your best and now,  it is time to turn our eyes West as we go home."

10/22/2016

Ready to Serve Goes on the Road



www.wwonenurses.weebly.com

We are booking now for 2017 - to bring this true story about unknown nurses out during programs to
honor the Centennial years. 

They have waited 100 years to have their story told.

Ready to Serve is a personal story of unknown nurses who donned Army uniforms and served with Hopkins Base Hospital 18 where they cared for hundred of wounded soldiers. This true story is down from their letters. 



Bessie Baker, Chief Nurse, Base Hospital 18, World War One





Introducing Chief Nurse Bessie Baker

Bessie Baker, a Hopkins Nursing School graduate, Class of 1902, was assistant Superintendent of Nurses at Hopkins in 1916 when she selected as Chief Nurse for Hospital 18. She was 41 years old.

In 1875 she was born into a large family living on the  Eastern Shore of Maryland. She came to Baltimore about 1898 to study at Hopkins and stayed in Baltimore until she left for France June 14, 1917.

In their letters her nurses speak of her as warm, humorous, and good natured while also being a strong leader who expected the best from those who worked under her. 

She wrote a report back to the Red Cross on the work at Base Hospital 18 that dealt with the medical work and the difficulties  - "the ridiculous plight" her nurses lived through during in the coldest, brutal winters up to that time in France.

She vividly and poetically described the early Fall landscape and colorful foliage  "the valley blazed in a shimmer of blended color, the wild mustard tawny in the sunlight, the winding Meuse River, the meadows bright with daisies, gentians, poppies".  

On a brief sightseeing trip shortly after they arrived in France she reflected  on her visit to the village where Jeanne d'Arc was born.
"In that humble chamber where Jeanne d"Arc first saw the light three hundred years ago, I could not help thinking today of the thousands of women, French, English, and American, going to war for France, though not to the fanfare of trumpets that cheered the Maid to Orleans and Rheims." 

After the Armistice was signed and the fighting was ended,  the staff at Hospital 18 gathered for a Thanksgiving meal on November 29.

When Bessie Baker spoke to the gathering, 
 
"In the future when I am asked about the American Army nurses who served in France I will think of you. I will tell them how proud I am of blue-lipped women, heavy was layers of clothing, standing near a red-hot pot-bellied stove thing to get warm - and yet doing their very best for their patients. 

We came to do a job here, You have done your best and now,  it is time to turn our eyes West as we go home."

There is more to  this story and that's for later.



10/11/2016

2016 - Back to National Storytelling Festival to Revel in Stories



Last Thursday Fanny Crawford, Susan Gordon, and I arrived smiling and looking forward to being in Jonesborough three days soaking up stories at the National Storytelling Festival. We are all long time veterans of making this trip from MD to TN - to dive into stories, to hear new storytelling, to see old favorites and to meet-up with friends.  It is a gathering fueled by story.

The posts from Facebook share a bit of the week-end.

Fanny, Susan, and me arriving Friday morning ready to get started.
Right away I bumped into Donald and Letty Nance - long time friends I count  on seeing at the Festival every year.
Minton Sparks - wonderful unique performer whose work really inspires me. I managed to see three of her sets!! Rich! She is an incredible wordsmith - opens new doors to using words.
First time I had seen Irish teller Clare Murphy. She is fantastic - in her storytelling, body movements and staging. She connects with the audience. She certainly connected with me!!!

Sunday we saw the set Clare Murphy and Minton Sparks shared - p o w e r f u l. At the close of the set the audience was on their feet applauding.

I know Judith Black's work so I was in a seat for her performance of "Lucy Stone" - her original story of Suffragette Stone. Judith gave a marvelous performance and my eyes filled with tears at the end when we in the audience jumped to our feet to value Judith and Lucy Stone. Clearly women want to hear stories of their history.


Connecting with folks in the seats was an important focus for me this Festival - some I knew and others were strangers. Every conversation ended in my learning something  and hearing a story. These exchanges enriched the experience of being in Jonesborough.

This was too funny. Those who know the storytelling world will know that Kathryn Wyndham was a revered teller who died years back nearing 90 years old. I deeply admired her work. But, having the young guy call me out because of my white hair struck me as absolutely too funny.


So the tents have been taken down and we start the wait for the 45th annual storytelling festival - 2017.


9/27/2016

Ready to Serve Review

September 23, 2016 I performed Ready to Serve 
at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD to open the 2016 touring schedule.


Hopkins Nurses, June 14, 1917  - before boarding the ship to take them to France.
where, as members of the US Army, they would serve with Hopkins Base Hospital 18.














Review of the performance on September 23, 2016.
"Your performance brought to life the experience of World War I nurses and revealed its impact on their lives and the nation. The storytelling format is an engaging venue for historical research. The discussion after the performance demonstrated the connections the audience made with your character. The Hopkins World War I nurses were amazing women, and this show captures their sacrifices and contributions. I highly recommend it." Phoebe Letocha Collections Manager, Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions 

For schedule and information

9/13/2016

Remember the days before Cell Phones?




Here are a few of many boxes of personal journals I am reviewing to remember yesterdays.

Recently I made short story from a
faded page I found loose on the bottom of the box.

It brought back an ordinary day- - July 10, 1974- - - I am glad to have it back.

This is a video of the story - Essential Personel.




9/11/2016

Remembering 9/11: A Personal Memory

Remembering 9/11

Jim and I were in Montecatini, Italy the day the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were attacked. So far from home - - that's another story. 

We were fortunate that our daughter sent off a quick email from DC to let us know our family members who could have been in immediate "harm's way" were OK. Then the email connection in our hotel went down. Jim and I wanted to get back home.

As many remember that night the skies closed. No planes could leave or enter the US for some days. Jim and I had intended to leave Italy and meet a travel group arriving from Dulles. Obviously they never arrived - leaving Jim and me bumping around Provence for two weeks until the plane tickets we had could take us home. We prayed, cried, and worried about what had happened - but we were not physically hurt by it.

However  - we were often emotionally touched when French people who were very sad for the United States, the losses, and the stricken families reached out to us. They told us how sorry they were. They wanted to say that out loud to a person. As they took our hands or patted our arms their eyes were filled with tears. Pictures and concern was spread on the front pages of newspapers in many languages. Bouquets of lovely flowers were left on the sidewalk outside the American Consulate in Nice with personal condolence notes pinned to the wrappings.  People also left small candles that bravely flickered in the dark. 

I took pictures of those consoling offerings.

Fifteen years later I still see faces of the people and remember their caring for those lost that day and for their devastated families.  









9/09/2016

Michael Hyatt's Productivity Summit -


Friday morning - ending another week - and this has been a great week for me.

I am considering choices.

Do you do that?

I tell you I find it hard because I want to do it all - -

But this week I have been having some guidance about choices to increase my focus and step up my productivity.

I am so glad I registered for Michael Hyatt's Productivity Summit on the internet.  For the past 8 days I have been watching a new video every day from  Michael Hyatt . Every day there has been a different speaker who is an authority on some aspect connected to productivity in business and life.  Each video is an in-depth interview with one of the speakers conducted by Michael - who is an excellent interviewer.

Learning new information always excites me. I have loved it!

As a business entrepreneur as a spoken word artist I can apply a lot of what they say to the work aspects  I do to back-up my performance work. If you have read me her at all you already know that I am fascinated by technology so I was quite happy there was plenty of information along those lines.

Michael planned a program that went covered organizing, social media, decision making, health, sleep and a few other topics.

One of my immediate take-aways was the deeper learning of how different conducting business is today ---from working remotely to the reliance on technology's tools. I will never use everything these people do but I can tell you I am very happy to know about the tools and how they are being used. Most important, it opens your eyes to the thinking and the world of younger people today.

I can't possibly report all I heard nor would you want me to but there are several points that stuck to me immediately:

1. Focus - discussions of how we are living in a time of extraordinary and overwhelming distraction and how it is interfering with our ability to concentrate and to "go deep" when we work on intellectual projects and products.

 Not news, right? They added suggestions for getting the upper hand such as -block your internet interruptions - both with personal discipline and apps that will do it for you on your schedule.

2. A fellow named Greg McKeown talked about choices and decisions. My main take-away was a better understanding of the trade-offs that go with every decision - and - the importance of examining the impact of your decisions.

That was exactly the right talk for me because I am juggling a choice between two major story projects and I need to select one to put at the head of my list. After listening to McKeown I wrote down all the trade-offs and pluses and have almost made a final choice.

A big surprise was the interview with Shawn Stevenson on his book Smart Sleep which turned out to be right on target and was fascinating.  Sleep is very important to our productivity and many times busy people sabotage the kind of sleep they get when they finally put their body down. One "biggie" is the information that watching TV  or using electronic devices before bed interferes with your best sleep which is a bed rock for productivity the next day.

Since Jim died I have watched a movie in bed on my iPad every night as sort of a compensation for sleeping alone.

After Shawn's talk I stopped that - and I can feel the difference in the quality of my sleep. I won't try to explain the effect of the light from the computer and devices etc or its impact on RIM sleep - I just urge you to do what I have - read the book.

Many thanks to Michael Hyatt for such uninformative and productive learning experience. I look forward to more!



9/05/2016

On the USS Hornet and in PA







Labor Day

Yesterday - some time ago
We were visiting our daughter Robin and her family Brad and their three boys, Jamie, Danny and Scotty in California.

For a family excursion that day we toured the famous WWII Carrier, the USS Hornet - that is docked at Alameda.

A good time for all of us.

Lots of history with many sweet memories.

Today
Jimmy, Monica, Karen and I spent a good afternoon at our family get-away place near Gettysburg.
Entertaining conversation and laughs over lunch at a near-by cafe.
Time together and an escape from the city is always a good thing.

A good day.

A Painting that is Part of My Story







Seated Woman
artist: Ellouise Schoettler
1975
Acrylic on Canvas
4' x 6'


Today when I walked into Jimmy and Monica's home I stopped as I passed the doorway for a close look at this familiar painting which hangs in their living room.  I remembered painting it. The woman is a studio model who was sitting every day of a July week in 1975.  That's 41 years ago but seeing her transported me back into the studio. I felt I could breathe in the pungent smell of  turpentine where some near me were painting with oils.  

Lately I have written posts about working on my
collection of personal journals. Initially I thought a memoir could be gathered from my 30 year collection of notebooks until I realized the story also has threads from art works, letters and other ephemera I have kept all these years. Every bit of these items also carries some story. My memory seems to have registered all these items in a way that I can remember them and what was going on at the time. Well - need I add that the scope of the project has grown.

For instance - take this painting. I gave it to Jimmy in the 1980s because his apartment walls were bare and I had no wall space left for it at  our house. To be honest, I was not sure of it at that time. But thanks to the years of seeing it hanging in Jimmy and Monica's home I have come to appreciate the good in it - in fact there are times I am proud of it. Most of all I am grateful its not tucked in a storage bin because whenever I see it - that painting carries me back to a very exciting time in my life filled with opening to art and seeing the world differently.

When I painted this painting I was in a summer-school graduate painting class at American University.  I was a 39 year old mother of three, who was in my second year of work for an MFA in painting. The instructor, Ron Haynie, was a favorite of mine. He was my first painting teacher four years before at Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross when I was a Sophomore working for an undergraduate degree - a BA. Ron was one of the most articulate people I have ever known which was a gift to his students. When teaching he could tell you the same thing 10 times or until you "got it". He was an AU Painting MFA graduate and teaching at Dunbarton was his first teaching job.  In a few years AU reached out and brought him onto their teaching staff where he remained until his death in 2008.  Here is a tribute post I wrote about Ron Haynie at that time.

Daily I realize that one of the most valuable benefits that comes from re-reading old journals or looking through piles of papers and fingering memorabilia or studying old art work  - is finding and remembering the people I have been fortunate to know.