Sunday, August 9, 2009

This week's art journal

The ending of it was cut short due to size restrictions and didn't really reflect the way I wanted to end it, so below is how it was meant to really end.

In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights act after three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi, but that didn’t stop the violence that was going on in many American cities. Beatlemania was in full swing as girls with teased hair screamed along to songs like” All my Loving” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Muhammed Ali was still Cassius Clay as he won the world heavyweight championship of boxing from Sonny Liston, and in September of that year I turned 8 years old. It was, as someone much more literate than I has already said, the best of times and the worst of times.

My big sister was 9 years older than me, When you’re 8 and she’s 17 you might as well say you just about don’t have a sister for all the differences between those two ages. Our "relationship" then was more like annoying, scruffy little pest and mascara and eye-liner beauty queen. She climbed stairs to podiums to sing with choirs and I climbed trees to eat my lunch. She gave speeches in beauty contests and I went to speech class for my lisp. She wore beautiful satin gowns and I borrowed (and ruined) those gowns playing dress up. You can probably see where this is going.

We lived in one of those small cape cold style homes the Government built for returning G.I's after World War II. These homes were built for efficiency - and among other conveniences they included a "Wonder Room" - so dubbed because it converted to a dining room by day via a table that pulled down from the wall and a bedroom by night by virtue of a Murphy bed that pulled down from a closet by night. By the time I was born my parents' home had undergone the third of what would become an endless parade of renovations over the years. The Wonder Room existed, for me, only in folklore and photographs.

But despite the renovations the house was still small and there were really not many places to go for solitude except a damp cellar or a crowded attic. My imagination became crucial for me as I tried to negotiate the shifting sands of

culture and family in the world around me. Last year President Kennedy was shot. This year I got a pogo stick and

fell in love with Paul McCartney AND Mick Jagger. Vietnam images were appearing on t.v. And there would be no

Brady Bunch tv show for another 5 years. My imagination was my anchor and my lead - the place where I put all of

this together and came up with my life vision.

I'm grateful for that imagination today because it has taken me on all sorts of paths I would otherwise never have traveled. I could never have envisioned a world that looks the way our world looks today and certainly never have seen the places I've been so far. I've had some dreams fulfilled, some deferred, and always seem to have a list of new ones I'm working towards. Through it all my imagination has never failed me.

About my sister. As I said earlier, she's still 9 years older. But now she's also my good friend.


Lit and Life said...

Love this! I grew up in the same time period and remember so many of those same things.

Mar said...

i haven't ever heard of a "wonder room"
this was new for me...

9 years is a huge difference
for that matter 2 years is..

thanks for sharing a segment of you

Holli said...

I loved this teri... thanks for sharing this part of your life. You and your sister have a great bond nomatter the age difference I'm sure. My younger sister and i are 13 years apart and after reading this i can see a little glimpse into her world now. :)

Thauna said...

Teri, that was a wonderful year...I was born in December. I enjoyed reading about your life in 64. Are you doing a page for each age? Very cool idea, now I'm feeling nostalgic. :o)

Haley said...

This was wonderful to read! Loved it! Thank you for sharing...and my little brother, 10 years my junior, is now my friend...its wonderful when that happens!

Jo said...

This is just wonderful. Thank you for sharing with us.