Memorial Day reflections on Memory and the effect over time

My father was 44 years old when I was born. He was 27 years old when my oldest sister, the eldest arrived. My childhood memories and my siblings recollections differ enormously. I have always valued the significance of each person’s unique perceptions of daily experiences, as a shaper of their memories. So sometimes it is hard to sort what is real and what has been embellished by imagination, values and biases. Looking out the window at this very moment; all I see is an empty, green, grassy yard. Upon closer look it’s not so empty. My memory of this morning will be skewed by where I choose to direct my focus.

So I wasn’t totally surprised when I decided to explore a memory and see how it measured against my siblings memory. I grew up with the story that everyone thought my father, in his youth, looked like the old time movie star Tyrone Power.

I asked my sister who is 7 years older than me what story she remembered. She said she always heard people thought he looked like Robert Taylor. My brother, who is the next oldest, said it was Paul Muni. My oldest brother named another actor John Hodiak, and my oldest sister was sure it was George Raft with a hat.

I wonder if the memory of who he looked like was connected to how we related to him. I know he was different with me than he was with my siblings. Maybe he was a tough guy like George Raft, when my oldest sister was young. He retired two years after I graduated from high school. So he wasn’t focused on his job anymore. Being the youngest, I may have imaged him to be the gentle leading man. We took our first plane ride together to visit Ukraine in 1974. It was a return trip for him. It was a scary adventure into Soviet culture for me.

I guess it doesn’t matter all that much which one of is right about who he looked like. He’s been gone over 25 years now, and I still think about him. He will always be my Daddy.

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From Berlin to Metro Detroit Artists Collaborate


Collaborative exhibit opened at River’s Edge Gallery in Wyandotte March 20, 2015. It will remain on view until April 17, 2015. Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, Friday 11:00 to 8:00 pm and Saturday 11:00 to 5:00 pm.

Gallery Director Jeremy Hansen was inspired after his experience collaborating with artists in Berlin, Andreas and Ralf Hilbert aka “ANRA”, last year. Zusammenarbeit is the German word for collaboration.

Historically many well known artists have had collaborators. Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party” was created with hundreds of collaborators. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz all collaborated.

My collaborator was Susan Robinson-Heaslip one of my studio mates and member of West Huron Sculptors. It was an exciting fluid process, with a great exchange of ideas and expertise. It was also an exercise in trust and a journey of respect.

We began with two sculptures I had created, but never finished. Susan and I talked and ideas began to flow. Her thought was to build context for them by framing separately with pieces of mitered wood.Somehow in the process, a triangle appeared. As a Catholic I immediately began thinking of symbolism. Then I turned to Susan and asked about Jewish symbolism.  It just happened that it was March 4th the beginning of the holiday Purim. We began talking about Hamantaschen or Haman’s pockets a popular treat for this holiday. One interpretation is that the triangular shaped cookies represent Haman’s three cornered hat. Another thought is that the pastry’s shape comes from the Esther’s strength and the trilogy  founders of Judiasm: “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This explains the title “It started with hamantaschen or Trapping Haman.”

Susan suggested I add muscular arms to the second figure. Her title is “Stronger than she looks” and she began to resemble a “Rosie the Riveter.” Robinson-Heaslip is skilled at composition, patinas and a variety of art materials as well as a sculptor herself. She created a box complete with over two hundred “rivets” actually screws, then was able to create a faux metal surface.

Below are photos documenting some of the process. I’m open to future collaborations, since there is always something new to learn.

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From Magic Kingdom to Mariupol, Ukraine


Cinderella Castle Magic Kingdom Disney World, USA

Visiting the Magic of childhood fantasy, with one foot in the world of adult tragedy.

Here all the staff are smiling and friendly, making you believe that all is right in the world. To quote Thich Nhat Hanh: “In our daily life, we can smile. If we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.”

Then my mind shifts to Mariupol, Ukraine. Where Russia is exherting its great power against principals of international law and humanity, and rockets kill 30 people. It reminds me of a Jimmy Hendrix quote; “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”


In Michigan my Ukrainian friends light candles and stage a protest against University of Michigan Musical Society honoring Putin comrade conductor
Valery Gergiev, who supports the annexation of Crimea and bloody invasion of Ukraine.

Staging a protest, doesn’t change the world, but it helps to keep us from letting the world change us. We all need to do what we can when we can.

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Visiting Italy at Epcot


Eating on the patio of the restaurant Via Napoli gave us an authentic Italian experience. It was less crowded than the noisy indoor dining. When the Medieval Cortona Flag dance began and we couldn’t see the young male performers. Our waiter pointed in their direction “but of course, go”, basically he could wait to take our order.


All the staff were warm, friendly and accommodating. It was so much like being in Italy. We were happy we shared the Chicken Parmesan and the salad. It was just the right portion for the two of us with no leftovers.

Amusingly our visit to France for dinner found the staff very authentically French.

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Good Morning Old Key West resort


Great morning waking up to ibis in the pond below our balcony.

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West Huron Sculptors “PoP- uP” Studio Art Sale.

West Huron Sculptors Flyer FinalA

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Art News

Art News.

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