Went to a reunion of my 1st grade school mates, some of whom I hadn't seen in decades. Memories where being thrown around all over the place, some involving me.
I finally got to reveal to three girls (sisters) older than me that when I did a sleep over at their house (I was 3 or 4) I woke up having fallen out of bed and was terrified that they'd woken up before me to see me hanging off the side, a worm in a sheet chrysalis, hanging sideways with my sleeping head lolling about. I imagined horrible teasing coming my way. Luckily no one else had woken up, and I somehow wiggled out of the tight sheeting, fell onto the floor and crawled back into bed without disturbing anyone. It was a relief to finally tell this story, to see all three sister laugh... and to hear no tormenting teasing. (That I had carried around this worry about teasing for this long is a hoot!)
No, I don't remember a lot of what others remember, but in a way I do. At the state park swimming pool something exciting happened in the shallow area where the water went up to my chest, when I was about 5. It involved a boy, but I can't say what happened or who it was, but I have always had a fondness for that spot in the pool. Jeff R. told me this weekend that he had held my hand in the pool on one day back then, just before their family moved away from the area. (Anyway, he thought it was me because my older sister says it wasn't her.) He was 7 years old. Today, after two days of searching my memories, I think maybe I remember this as happening. Why else would I be so fond of that spot in the pool, he being a good energy person even now, years later. The spiritual essence of a person sticks throughout life, no matter what age they are. This I saw verified so clearly in the mannerisms of the adults that I met who I remember only as children. They were so much themselves the same, just older and more experienced in life.
Another of my memories involves playing guns with a blond boy down at the end of our poppy field. I still do remember who this was. I was so excited by this experience that my little 5-year old brain went home afterward and named a tiny 3-inch skinny blond boy doll I had after this kid, Christopher. It was my greatest tiny kid grief that I eventually lost that doll a few months later. During this recent reunion the real Christopher, now man of many moons, told me I was the first girl he ever kissed, a 5-minute love affair for a 5 or 6-year-old boy. I laugh inside, because I don't remember the kiss but I remember the guns, and I also remember having multiple 5-minute crushes on that particular kid all the way up through my junior year of high school.
So, what has any of this to do with art? Just the simplicity of experience that appears when I create imaginatively. When I paint/draw chrysalises I create them with a sense of knowing (those sheets holding me tight). When I draw water I have a warmth and a comfort that might come from that early holding of my hand. (Because many other times I have almost drowned, and I still love water.) And in a way little boy Christopher can be seen in much of my art about children. I met him again when I met Skyler, the boy I drew flying kite boxes from a fallen redwood tree (1/30/13 post).
Thanks Mary Jane, Jeff, and Kip for the life-long content, and Heidi and Janet for the reunion experience. There are many more stories than these that could be told, including finding old friends who have turned into artists and craftspersons themselves, and hum with the excitement of creative lives. What a fertile garden paradise I grew up in. So odd, and so lucky an existence.