the way it is...

Monday, February 26, 2007

a believer


At night, during the late hours when I can not sleep, I often think of things I can not change and those I can no longer touch. I think of my three cats at times, Mavis, Madeline, and Camille, which I took to a farm belonging to an ex-boyfriends parents, as he was allergic to them and we were moving to Chicago together. I visited them a week later only to find they had ran away. After searching on a long walk I found Camille on the side of the road. I picked her up and took her back to the farm and buried her in the woods. Mavis and Madeline were never seen again. I still cry over that, kick myself.

I think of my grandmother, Delma, as well, and often. She was a ceramist and lived in Indiana most of her life. She must have poured over a thousand or more molds and before firing, while the object was still cool, damp and impressionable, she would sign each one on the bottom, “by Del” along with the year. She passed away in 1990.

My memories of Billy Graham began in my childhood. We grew up without religion in our lives. We were sent to Sunday school a few times, I believe out of social pressure from my grandparents and neighbors, otherwise, my parents really did not favor "organized" religion. My mother said god was in trees and in nature.

During the years between 1968 through 1977 my sister and I ( we were never separated, that is until Mrs. Wagner borrowed Jacqueline for a day to "assist in hanging some blinds" in kindergarten, Jacqueline never returned to Mrs. Cook's class and I then had Mrs. Cook all to myself and a huge name tag was never hung around my neck again) anyway, my sister and I would spend many weekends at our grandmothers. Saturday mornings were met with the sound of classical music from the AM radio and the smell of eggs, toast, and coffee (lots of milk and sugar). Our days were spent in the cool basement with our hands in wet clay, evenings we were outside under the large Pine trees. At dusk we watched Lawrence Welk.
Sunday mornings were as welcoming as Saturdays, the only difference was, instead of heading to the basement after cleaning the breakfast dishes my grandmother would watch Billy Graham on television. I can still see her in her chair, hands folded in her lap with a handkerchief, listening attentively. I can see his young handsome face and hear his charismatic voice, right arm raised pointing to his savior.

While living in Chicago, in 1998, I was dining at a friend of a friends house. During the dinner party I noticed two ceramic candle holders with a beautiful white and blue marble glazing, on the table. While others conversed I slid one of the candle holders towards me and turned it over. The bottom read “by Del 1968”.

I am making the trek to Queens tomorrow, not because I seek salvation, but silly as it may seem to some, I am going to see him, listen to him, because of those memories of the sound of that classical music, the smell of those eggs, toast and that sweetly sweetened milkened coffee. For the smell of those Pine trees and in memory of my grandmother, Delma Orpha Geiger.

about Wendaferd

I was born to a carpenter and an artist/activist/homemaker in Indiana, right smack-dab in the middle of the middle class and white America. I am number 7 of 8. On a really good day my mother called me Wendaferd. I have a sidekick, his name is Willie. On a really good day he calls me Darlin'. I have three caged birds and they still sing, and a dog named Birdi. I am an artist and the founder of SUGAR. My photographs explain what I am thinking. The image becomes a drawing of my conclusions. Within the captured moment lie my notions and opinions about the world I live. Cropping happens in the lens, eliminating unnecessary words, while enriching others that remain within the frame. I trust my instincts and intuitions as if they were logic. Gwendolyn Charlene Skaggs

days gone by

Elephant Ears

By Gwendolyn Skaggs