When your daughter tells you she wants to be an artist, it worries even the most optimistic parents. It’s a long hard road of challenging obstacles. Will her career be stable? Will she ever leave our house? How will she get a dental plan? What does her future look like? Don’t even get me started about the physical labor associated with helping her hang an outdoor art show, ship paintings, erect a trade show booth, build frames or stretch canvases. In addition, parents also have the daily job of executive sounding board which requires them to listen to every detail of every bump and triumph.
*My parents = Ed and Wanda
My parents have faced this challenge with great success. They have given my art career every attention they would another grandchild. Keep in mind that neither of my parents had any experience or clue about this field I chose. Somehow they figured out how to be my back up. I couldn’t ask for a better support team. However, since this is Father’s Day, I am going to focus on the role Ed has played helping me pursue my career.
My dad was a successful systems analyst in his career. You might say that a career in technology is the opposite of being an artist. However, If you really know Ed, then you know he has the soul of an artist and that he is the possessor of many talents.
Ed can make or fix just about anything.
He hand-made many beautiful frames for my paintings along the way. The frames were so cool and I wish I would have kept them instead of selling them.
Ed loves music and can sing and play the guitar.
He bought me my first 45 single (Eric Clapton’s Lay down Sally) and took me to my first concert. When I was 14, I wanted to see Michael Jackson in concert. Ed camped out with me and 4 of my friends to purchase tickets and chaperoned us to the show.
Ed’s is a sage poet.
His advice is legendary and usually delivered in verse. My childhood friends can fondly quote him at the drop of a hat. His words are always useful and always right. Each powerful phrase and sometimes single word repeated like a mantra would be the envy of our quote obsessed culture if they were ever exposed to it. Gems like “Remain Vigilant” (on surroundings and safety), “Hit the floor” (his wake up call to teens sleeping their life away) and “Moderation” (applied to many things including the first time I got totally wasted) come to mind. After finding a pack of Marlboro lights in my car during college, he offered me this very useful health advice, “There is no such thing as LIGHT cigarettes and there is no such thing as LIGHT Cancer”. Truer words have never been spoken. To be fair, I think part of that quote should be credited to Wanda.
Ed helped shape me into a street savvy citizen of the world.
My car once broke down in the parking lot of the building where both Ed and I worked. He passed by me on his way to lunch with friends. The hood of my car was up and I was there with a colleague trying to figure out what to do. He took a quick look around to make sure I was ok and in no danger. He then said, “Welcome to car ownership.” He didn’t say another word and continued on his way to lunch with his friends.
When I announced I was moving to France, Ed’s first words were brief, “They don’t have toilet paper and when you move into your apartment, you won’t have a single light bulb.” Once again, Ed was right. French toilet paper sucks and when I first moved into my apartment, there wasn’t a single light fixture. For my first two weeks in France, I only had a lamp and 1 flashlight to keep me company at night. Guess who showed up to help me install lights and get settled in my new foreign surroundings? Ed (and Wanda of course)! My parents had never even been outside of the US prior to my move to France, but that didn’t keep them from jumping on a plane to help me in this new frontier.
Many of my paintings are the namesake and inspiration of Ed. There’s Ed the Beetle, Ed and Wanda’s Flower Garden and my favorite, Ed’s Bird Sanctuary. A love for gardening is something my parents have always shared. Growing up, we always had fresh flowers in our house that were picked from our yard. I often had roses in my room from my dad’s prized rose garden. Ed’s rose garden is so coveted that someone once dug up and stole one of his bushes. I love flowers as a result of being surrounded by these wonderful gardens. You might say that Ed (and Wanda) inspired all my floral paintings.
When my inner circle reads this blog, they will be surprised. They see me as the essence of Wanda reincarnated. I am totally Wanda Jr, but I am also 50% Ed.
Recently, I was shopping with my dad. It was just he and I in a men’s shoe store in Hilton Head, S.C. He was talking with the salesman like two men of a certain age do about their grown children. “Is your daughter like you or your wife?” the salesman asked. “She is the combination of all our best qualities” he replied without missing a beat. What a wonderful little nugget for me to hear and remember about my parents.
Ed plays guitar, sings, makes frames, speaks in poetic verse and has the gardening skills of a pro. Basically, the dude is an undercover renaissance man.
I guess I’m just a chip off the old block. Thanks Dad!
Happy Father’s Day!