Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Days / Sad Days

Top Photo
Happy Birthday, Thelma!
Bottom Painting
They're so Pretty in Calvert
16" x 20"
It's a sad time, and a happy time.
First, the happy time is because of birthdays. Happy Birthday to Thelma today. Her picture is above from back in the 1940s. I remember those jodphurs! Irvin's birthday would have been this week, too. Lots of birthdays and holidays close together in this family.
It's a sad time because several people have died.
Last weekend, we lost Kathy Staff, who played Nora Batty on "Last of the Summer Wine", one of my favorite programs. I loved watching Nora and the ladies having coffee, and even Nora's hats and wrinkled stockings. The program has some lovely scenery in England, soothing, cheerful music, and some fun characters. The characters remind me of Calvert. .
Next, I learned of the death of one of our classmates, Walter. I have such great memories of the times when we were all growing up in Calvert. It is always so hard to lose our classmates, since we spent so much time together in our small class . I looked at my classmates, more like brothers and sisters, especially since I didn't have brothers.
I think that you could compare some of our lives to that in the movies, "The Little Rascals" and "Our Gang". I heard a historian say that he grew up like in those movies. I thought, "I did too!"
My deepest sympathies to Walter's family. I'm sure that this is a very sad time for them.
I also learned of the death of another CHS graduate, Keen. He was a little older than I am, but I remember him in a sailor suit, and a picture of him in his sailor suit that his mother had. My mother and his mother visited a lot. His mother was so proud of him. I remember his dad, too. I found the obituary in the Waco Tribune Herald online this morning.
I thought I might draw an angel for Walter, but it wasn't happening. Instead, I started a sketch of the time that Walter and Taylor were sitting on the front row in Mrs. Brannon's English class. I can't remember who else was sitting on that row. I am thinking that Alfred was on the end by the windows. I remember that both boys had watches that seemed really large on their wrists. Mrs. Brannon got really mad about our class giggling about something, or talking, or making noise, that day. I can't remember exactly what it was. I do recall that we did all kinds of things to not have to read what we thought were embarrassing passages, and, if anyone did consent to read those things, they were "giggled at", and either blushed or rushed through it so fast you could barely understand what they said. Some of those embarrassing literary works included "Macbeth" and "Romeo and Juliet". They were pretty risque in places. We were so naieve.
The class, especially the boys, since they were bolder and there were more of them, were having trouble being nice, quiet, serious students that day. Mrs. Brannon had enough and had warned us a few times. She may have even already sent someone to the office.
The silliness happened again. Mrs. Brannon walked over to the blackboard, gripped her yardstick in her hand, and pursed her lips. She swung that yardstick over the heads in the first three rows! Everyone ducked, and that just made the boys giggle that much more. Eventually, they stopped when they realized that Mrs. Brannon was really angry. Those of us further back, ducked, too! We didn't know what might happen! That yardstick could fly over and hit us too, we imagined. And we didn't know how long Mrs. Brannon's reach was.
Despite the yardstick overhead, those boys still just looked at each other and grinned. The teacher's obvious anger, didn't subdue them a lot.
Mrs. Brannon had used the yardstick to shake at us before, but she had never swung it over our silly heads before. I'm sure that some of us were not acting up to begin with. We always behaved ourselves, in fear, if nothing else. We sure didn't want a trip to the office, but some of the boys didn't seem too upset when they were sent. They probably quit giggling when the board hit their pants! It didnt' happen often, of course.
My little sketch has started out with Taylor and Walter, and their big watches, with Mrs. Brannon looming over them with a yardstick extended. I'm not happy with the drawing, though. I was having a lot of trouble connecting lines, etc. I think it is because I was working too small in a sketchbook. And I have Mrs. Brannon really huge compared to the boys and the desks! Doesn't look like her at all!
Now, you have to know that Mrs. Brannon was a sweet lady, not inclined to violence at all. And an excellent teacher. And we knew that we had to behave in all our classes, including English. I don't think that she ever paddled, but she would send any unruly student to the office. And they would take care of things, there. Supposedly, the offender got more of the same, or worse, at home.
Instead of an angel, I am sharing an acrylic painting I did of some robed figures. They are standing in the street beside what was Conitz Dry Goods Store on Main Street, at night, after most people had gone home for the day. They are looking up, excited by the beautiful lights in the sky. UFOs? Angels?
Keep in mind the 21st World Wide Sketch Crawl Saturday January 10. Want to come draw, paint, journal, or even doodle with us? Let me know, or get with a group where you are. Or, you can even start your own group. See the website for more information. Or you can just click on the logo in my sidebar, and that will take you to the site. Look under 21st sketch crawl, then under Forums to find a group near you. Or just groups that are in interesting places.
This time, you can order a t-shirt with the logo and a cute pencil on the sleeve. It isn't required, since the Sketch Crawl is free, but it is just something different to wear. Those are available through the website.
Speaking of t-shirts, look on Virginia Vaughan's blog and see some of the neat t-shirts that she has designed. You can order those through her, too.
Also, look at the information about the workshop she is doing in Calvert February 21. She has more on her website at . You can contact me at for a supply list and information.
Please share with others who might be interested.
This workshop will be on Saturday, and she will still be there, to paint with the group on Sunday morning. She won't be teaching on Sunday, but we will be painting for fun. So, if you aren't local, you might want to make plans to stay for at least one night.
While you are thinking of sending out Christmas wishes, you might keep in mind our wrongly imprisoned border agents, Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos. And their families.
If you are so inclined, you might call the White House (202)456-1111,and the Office of the Pardons Attorney (202)616-6070 and your senators, (For us, it is Hutchison and Cornyn) and do what you can to get those men released. Those in power should not be having such a fancy Christmas as long as these men are being held the way they are. If they can pardon a turkey, drug dealers and other criminals, then why not these men who never belonged in prison to begin with. We hope that these men and their families will be able to have a great Christmas together.
You can send cards and letters to Ramos and Compean, too. There is also an organization called Grassfire that is trying to free them.

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