Unfortunately, he was a stone cold drunk…

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My parents separated when I was three years old. The
story is my dad started selling drugs and brought some
guys back to the apartment. My mom said he absolutely
could not expose her babies to “those folks” and “that life.”
She told him he needed to head back south to Georgia
and his parents’ house. He went, but they never divorced.

Through the years a few men drifted in and then
out. Only one stuck. Unfortunately, he was a stone cold
drunk. I believe he loved her. He tolerated us. But the
booze had a twenty year hold on him. And actually I’m
not sure my mom ever required him to stop drinking. I
can honestly say I liked him more when he was drunk. He
was angry and mean when he was sober. Even as a twelve
or thirteen year old I knew to be alarmed when he drove
his light blue Cadillac fast through the bumpy streets of
the Bronx, clearly intoxicated. My brother and I were in
the white leather backseat. Back then, seatbelts were just
a suggestion, but I made sure we were strapped in tight.

Even though my mom had a stable job working for
the City of New York and didn’t have a car, high inflation,
high unemployment and the energy crisis at the end of
the 1970s hit hard. I remember watching the news and
seeing cars lined up to get their gas on odd and even days.
Our landlord decided to sell the house we were renting.
My mom couldn’t buy it and she didn’t have the money
to secure an apartment. At that time in NYC, not only did

you need one month rent and one month security, but
you needed an equal to or greater amount of cash to pay
under the table in order to have your name moved up on
the list. We moved in with the alcoholic and stayed there
for a year or so.”

– excerpt from Turning Blue to Blue: How God Used Art to Lift My Depression

From One Heart to Another

Vector version of Image:Color icon purple.png

Vector version of Image:Color icon purple.png (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know a delightful man, loquacious and sensitive. When you come into his shop be prepared to stay longer than you should, enjoying his honest and humorous pondering on life.

In a conversation about a year ago, he was telling me how much he loved purple. His business pens are purple and if he could find more supplies in his color, he would. I was just starting on my art adventure back then and I had already been visiting him for four years.

I was inspired to create something for him.  I thought about it for over 6 months. And then the vision came to me. He and his wife had just had their first child. She is an absolutely adorable angel. My vision combined the purple with being new parents. It is called New Family.

New FamilyI had enlarged it and put it in a simple, durable, black frame with a white mat for the library display. After the display, it was sitting in my living room,  just sitting. Finally I said, “I’m going to take it to him!”

When he saw it he was dumbfounded for a few seconds. Then he said it was beautiful and expressed how much he loved it and how touched he was. I asked him what he saw in it. He saw the family, exactly as I had intended! That shocked me because no one else had. Even when I  would explain it to others, the response was, “Ohhh.”

He shared with me some of the pains and joys of his life, unashamed to let tears well up in his eyes, and how at those times, creativity flows from him like a powerful salve.

Once again I was richer for having been in his presence, sharing heart to heart.