Monday, December 22, 2014

My Life...Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow!: Christmas how it used to be way back in the olden days.

My Life...Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow!: Christmas how it used to be way back in the olden days.

Christmas how it used to be way back in the olden days.

I don't remember when I posted anything the last time, nor do I remember why I have not. I guess at a certain age life just slips through your fingers without explanation. I guess at Christmas I turn sentimental and remember my childhood in Germany when St. Nickolas came on December 6. and you got a few things like nuts if you were good or you'd get a switch if you were naughty all year long. I don't think that I ever got the switch nor coal in my shoe. It was a time of excitement especially since it was in the middle of World War II and before the Americans came to settle things.
The tree was live, there were candles on it and it was decorated  on the 24th by my parents and later they and my sister who was three years older than I. I had to wait in the parent's bedroom for the Christkind to come. There was never an abundance of presents and we didn't miss anything, it was normal and good. It was a time for celebrating the birth of Christ, it was a time to get cookies and everyone was happy.
When my daughters were little we were in the United States where they were born. We also celebrated on the 24th, that's when presents were opened. I would send them for a walk and when they came back Santa Claus had come and when they asked "where were you" I'd answer "I had to go to the bathroom". I don't know how many years that went on before I was busted. By that time I was divorced and often worked more than one job and there weren't that many presents, but they appeared happy. One year my sister brought a big bag of presents, it made me sad because I could not afford such abundance, when it came to  opening the presents my youngest daughter ripped through hers and then said "is that all there is?" It was the year they had gotten the most.
When they were even smaller, I gave them each a dollar and told them they could buy something for me. I don't remember, but when it came time to open gifts, the middle daughter gave me a shining glass, it shimmered in all the colors of the rainbow and was so cool. She said in her sweet voice "Mooom, it cost eighty-eight cents", what a sweet moment.
I think of the children and parents of today, who have to provide X-boxes and all manner of electronic gadgets, no one talks to each other anymore, they text even if you sit at the same table with them, the cellphone is always in their possession.
When and why has the simple celebration of the birth of Christ been replaced with glitz and glamor and an obscene abundance, when will greed take a break?
This Christmas we must remember our men and woman in the Armed Forces who put their life on the line every day. We also must remember our police and firemen and women who especially these days face hostility and peril every day. How many were killed for no reason and how many families and children face Christmas without their loved ones? The world must become better and we should all do our part.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Old Pottery Pieces

We have lived in many places in the United States, many of them my favorites like New Mexico and Colorado. However, it was in East Tennessee at the Art and Craft Center in Norris, TN that I found my true calling. When I first observed what most potters made I decided that is not me...bowls, mugs and lots of useful things. I didn't figure they'd need someone else making these items so I switched to animals and Nativity sets. I was very successful there, sold out of three galleries and had some fun.
In the photo above you will see some terracotta-fired figures for the Nativity, some unfired pieces and one that was glazed with color. If you notice, the shepherd is also looking cross-eyed. I took this set to a gallery in Townsend, which is no longer there. I sold out of there with some success.
The gallery was in an old house and I was told to put the figures in the kitchen. Townsend is at the mouth of the Smoky Mountain National Park, separated by a valley from Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg. It was approximately one and a half hours away from where I lived. I received a call the next day to come pick up the set because "Mary looked mean."  I drove back and picked up the set and ranted at the owner about the trials Mary and Joseph had trying to find a place to give birth to Jesus and told her if she had been Mary in those times she would not have looked happy either. I left with my head held high.
That same day I placed it in the gallery at the Norris Co-op and it sold right away. The day after that the Townsend gallery owner called me to ask me to bring the set back, she had a buyer. Too bad I told her, the set was sold and advised her I'd never bring her another one.
I have lots of stories like that to tell, but for the moment this is enough, another time I'll post more pieces if I can find the photos, I've never been a good record keeper and certainly never a fan of making symmetrical pieces, but each artist has to do what he or she fells like doing and most of us don't like anyone telling us how to do it or what to make

Friday, March 28, 2014

Jack's Quilt

Way back in the early 70's I met a young man, his name was "Jack" anyway that is what he was called, his name was "Jonathan", but we all called him "Jack". I met him as a fellow hotline worker at "Reachout, the Solon, Drug Abuse Center". Jack was 17 and when there were no calls we chatted and became friends. He had an unfortunate relationship with a much older woman who thought nothing of seducing a young man half her age then dumping him.  His home life at the time wasn't that happy, at least that's the impression he gave. One day we went skiing in Brandywine, an area outside of Cleveland, Ohio. We braved the lift and got stuck right under the snow making machine,  we froze our asses off. After that adventure we went to eat pizza. He looked around and with a frown said "what will we do if people think you're my girlfriend?" I laughed and told him that they'd view me as his mother, I loved Jack like a mother and like the son I never had. He said "then why don't you adopt me" and I said okay, ever since I thought of him as my "unofficially adopted son".

 Before long he joined the Service, he would write an occasional letter from Korea, it was always full of adventures and I would often caution him to be careful. He got out of the Service, and married a lovely woman, had three kids and now and then he would call and we'd chat. During that time I got an occasional letter and some photographs of him and one or two of his kids.

One day I came home from grocery shopping and my husband told me "Jack called, he said he loves you", he was on his way to Desert Shield. I was devastated that I didn't get to talk with him and started sitting in front of the TV, almost 24/7 watching war news and working on a twin quilt, I ran out of material and simply added other material whether it looked good or not. Before I received the news I had made a larger than King size quilt. I put it in an old trunk and forget about it, simply couldn't face it.

Time went by and my husband and I were on the way to Knoxville,TN. We weren't on the plane long when he gave me the Cleveland newspaper, on the front page was a blond, windblown woman in a bright red coat, sitting at a graveside in Arlington National Cemetery. It was Jack's widow and his children. It was February 1991 and I sat on the plane crying.

I called his wife and she told me she had tried to get hold of me and failed. I was devastated, the boy I loved most was shot down in his Cobra Gunship near the Kuwait border on the day Desert Shield became Desert Storm. My husband and I spent quite a bit of time in Washington DC and each time we were there I'd walk from the Marriott hotel downtown to Arlington National Cemetery, carrying flowers. I usually started crying at the florist and continued to Arlington. During one of those trips checking in two men approached me and asked where I got the flowers, "downtown" I said and when they asked for a couple I gave them three. It was a long way to the grave. The men passed me and offered me a ride and I told them I HAD to walk.
Another time when I was in DC I took three women along, we were at the same conference with our husbands, I poured a beer out and tried not to cry.

Once I took a Christmas tree and left it there. Time went by again and I haven't been back there again, there simply were no more conferences my husband had to attend. To this day when I think of Jack I start to cry, his children are grown, and I hope his wife re-married, we lost touch.

Recently I opened the trunk looking for something and found the quilt. The mother of a friend offered to take it with her to Nebraska and have a woman finish it. She wasn't sure if there was a machine big enough or if some part would have to be cut away. It was suggested that we make it into two twin quilts, but somehow I can't see that.

I tried to contact Jacks son via Facebook so I could offer it to him, I never got a reply. When the quilt comes back I'll simply put it back in the trunk along with my memories of Jack.