Driving home today from the annual Eco-fair flea market, (the city garage sale) which two of my friends were participating in; the word "continuity" popped into my mind. As I was looking at the houses with there widows peaks and old structures, many of the homes dating back to the 1800's, it occurred to me how comfortable it all is. How well I know it. The annual flea market in the city hall parking lot, chatting up friends on the street, or visiting the library that I worked at for many years. Waiting to cross the main street, I overheard two women, talking about there visit to Willoughby and how quaint the town is. One lady was giving the other lady the "lowdown" since it appeared she was the more familiar visitor. Listening to them, I felt a sense of pride at being a "local ". And I have been a local for a long time. I have lived in Willoughby since 1963. For as many times as I've dreamed myself in other locations, there comes a day like today when the spring air feels so good and the flowering trees are in bloom, and the sense of continuity takes over, and it just feels good to belong.
Willoughby is not that small of a city, in fact it houses many folks and spans quite a distance. Yet it feels like a small town, especially in the downtown area. The buildings date back to the early 1800's maybe earlier than that. The town was actually settled in 1750, so it's rich in history. My own history plays on my mind today, as I drive through. I think about all the times I sat down by the river at Todd Field, when I was a kid, maybe reading a book, or just sunbathing by the water, to a few years later, battling in that same river with my drinking buddies in the annual tug-of-war games. My 20's were filled with a rowdiness that I both appreciate and wish to forget at the same time. Yet it is my history. Then there's Frank's Restaurant. I was 19 and it was my first waitress job. Back then we were called waitresses. I really don't like the word "server", that they use today. I liked being a waitress. I liked working in the heart of the town. My customers ranged from Lou who owned the hardware store across the street, (now it's an upbeat coffee house) to Mr. Nichols who still today owns the jewelry store. There were also the local politicians and the big shots at our city newspaper. I gave them all their coffee or lunch. Frank's restaurant is no longer there, a fire did it in, in the early 80's, a year or so into my job there. Later, Frank's got a new life as an art studio, that to came and went. It's now been a candy and cake shop for quite a while, I bought my wedding cake topper there in 1988.
So on days like today, I enjoy walking around in my home town, chatting with my friends, Helen and Jan, at the flea market, going to the library and catching up with Michele and Rose, or just waving to the folks that I've known for many years. Friends that I have shared memories with, and a feeling of community.
Now for the Lesson part...
The illustration is done in ink wash. The brickwork itself took forever, I believe the entire illustration was over 20 hours worth of work.
Once the illustration was complete, a close friend/photographer and I had much fun setting up the photoshoot for this piece. The Christmas card promo was done in an attempt to land a job at the art studio, mentioned above. Those were the days of cold calls and pounding the pavement. I did not get the job, but it turned out to be a great lesson; from the endurance of sitting at the drawing table for extended periods of time, to meeting a deadline, to watching the ins and outs of a photoshoot. All in all good memories, and a good learning experience.