First of all, Happy Valentine’s Day!
As I build my tribe and create a community of like-minded women who want to start or maintain an art practice, I realized that many of you don’t know me very well yet. So here is my story. I’ve broken it down into a short series that I’ll share with you over the next several weeks.
The early years
I was born in upstate New York in a company town called Corning. Everything about the town revolved around Corning Glass Works, and both my dad and my grandfather (his dad) worked there. Corning isn’t very far from the Finger Lakes region and the area is pastoral, beautiful and has four very distinct seasons. I can remember:
- tons of snow and learning to cross country ski in our backyard
- hot, hot summers and creating a whirlpool in our make shift swimming pool – one of those pools that you build temporarily above ground with corrugated siding and thick plastic – by running in the water in the same direction as my two older sisters
- listening to torrential rain storms from the enclosed porches in our house, sheets of water clearly visible moving across the fields
I also vividly remember riding in the backseat of our station wagon on our way to the local country club when I was 7 and my mom telling us that she was expecting a new baby! And a boy no less. As the baby in the family until then, I wasn't too sure how I felt about this!
At 8, my family had the incredible opportunity to move to Europe. My dad was offered a five-year overseas assignment, first in Brussels and then in Paris. My mom, ever the romantic, decided that we should take an ocean liner to get there instead of flying. So she embarked with me and my three siblings on The France, a magnificent luxury liner that took four days to traverse the Atlantic Ocean. Upon arrival, she put us immediately into the French school system to ensure that we would learn flawless French and not just hang out with the expat community.
We moved from Brussels to Paris when I was 10. This was in the late 60’s during the Vietnam Era student riots. We lived in a fabulous apartment in the 6eme arrondissement right on the Place St Sulpice, very near the Sorbonne. I remember walking to school, which was only a few short blocks away, and passing small vans (camionnettes) full of policemen armed to the teeth with rifles at the ready should riots break out. I was completely oblivious to what was happening politically and actually felt very safe on the streets of Paris.
This was a truly special time. After spending a year and a half at the local “maternel” or grammar school, I graduated into the Lycee system and attended the Lycee Montaigne. Getting there involved a lovely walk from our apartment, up rue Ferou – a famous street that the three mousquetaires lived on – through the Luxembourg Gardens and out the other side where the Lycee was situated.
After each move, either to a new country or to a new school, I always managed to connect with one, or at the most two, really close girlfriends. These relationships were not complex but were very important to me and helped me stay grounded through these changes.
I’m now 13 and the news arrives: my dad’s assignment is up and we have to move back to the United States… WHAAAAT? But I’ll get to that part of the story next week...
Remember, It’s Never Too Late To Create.
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I've included a recording of last week's blog post in case you missed it. Just click on the audio file below and listen on the go!