Last year a couple of ladies passed away that made a big impact in my early creative life. I never took the time to tell them when I became an adult how much what they did for me meant. Eleanor Jackson was my art teacher when I was twelve years old. She invited our art class to her historic home in St. Joseph , Missouri. Mrs. Jackson walked us through the neighborhood of historic mansions and we were able to sit anywhere and draw what inspired each of us. And then she cooked lunch for our class. My mother called a couple of months ago to ask me what my art teacher's name was . She had been reading the obituaries in the St. Joseph paper. It had never crossed my mind to track Mrs. Jackson down and write her a letter letting her know what an impact her gesture of kindness had made on me. Then, last month, Velma Davidson passed away. She had lived to 102 and 3/4s . Velma had lived in our community and attended the same church as our family. She played the piano at church each week. And she had an organ in her living room and played for us when we visited . But the talent she shared with me was that of making bread from scratch. I was again, about twelve years old when my mother asked Velma if she would teach me to make bread. I am guessing that Velma must have brought her homemade rolls to church dinners . That would have been where I had tasted her artwork. Velma came to our home and shared with me the mysteries of kneading dough and baking rolls. I was hooked and have been baking our bread ever since. Again, I never told Velma how much what she did for me meant . What an impact she had on me in my early years of learning.
So these two ladies passed away in 2008 and I had been meditating on how I could honor what they had done for me and what could I do in my own small way to keep the tradition of sharing talents alive and well. Then Miss Hannah Marie entered my life. An eight year old budding artist. Her current talents are in drawing , painting and paper construction. I was visiting in her bedroom studio one afternoon and somehow it came up that she had never sewn or created with fabric. I told her about some old sock cats that were in my collection. Hannah's eyes lit up. Could she make something from a sock ? Ah........here was how I could share a talent. I invited Miss Hannah to my studio for a four hour session of creating a sock creature. Since her old sock had frogs printed on it, Hannah wanted to make a sock frog. And so we did. And we drank Earl Green tea. And we shared a sunset together from my big studio windows.
Mrs. Jackson and Velma, I hope you can know how much what you shared with me meant and I hope that I can honor these memories I have of our times spent together by continuing to help young artists in my own way. Thank you.