Drawing on Memories / Dibujos y Recuerdos

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

I CONTINUE TO come across old sketchbooks I had forgotten about. I knew I had them because I made the decision to ship them to Spain eight years ago. And, when we moved from Sevilla to Fuengirola in 2013, I again organized my art supplies and sketchbooks. But, somehow, I didn’t remember they contained many of these drawings.

My sister Dale died in 1981 (click here). At that time, I was still carrying a sketchbook with me wherever I went. Here are a few drawings from the last time I visited her in South Yorkshire four months before she went into hospice care in Sheffield — a week after we were told there was nothing more to be done to stop the spread of the bone cancer. I was back again with my parents and The Kid Brother to be with her when she died.

This encourages me to carry my sketchbook wherever I go and draw whatever I see. I didn’t think much of these drawings at the time but I’m so grateful to have them now.

.

CONTINÚO ENCONTRADO VIEJOS cuadernos de dibujo que había olvidado. Sabía que los tenía porque tomé la decisión de enviarlos a España hace ocho años. Y, cuando nos mudamos de Sevilla a Fuengirola en 2013, nuevamente organicé mis materiales de arte y cuadernos de dibujo. Pero, de alguna manera, no recordaba que contenían muchos de estos dibujos.

Mi hermana Dale murió en 1981 (haz clic aquí). En ese momento, todavía llevaba un cuaderno de bocetos conmigo dondequiera que iba. Aquí hay algunos dibujos de la última vez que la visité en Yorkshire del Sur en Inglaterra cuatro meses antes de que ingresara en un centro de cuidados paliativos en Sheffield, una semana después de que nos informaron que no había nada más que hacer para detener la propagación del cáncer de huesos. Regresé nuevamente con mis padres y El Hermanito para estar con ella cuando ella muriera.

Esto me anima a llevar mi cuaderno de bocetos donde quiera que vaya y dibujar lo que vea. No pensé mucho en estos dibujos en ese momento, pero estoy muy agradecido de tenerlos ahora.

King’s Cross Station, London. About to depart for Doncaster.
Estación de King’s Cross, Londres. A punto de partir hacia Doncaster.
During my visit in November 1980. She woke up , so I stopped. I spent so much time watching her sleep, listening to her pained breathing.
Durante mi visita en noviembre de 1980. Se despertó, así que me detuve. Pasé tanto tiempo observándola dormir, escuchando su respiración dolorida.
The day after the funeral. Dale’s cat, Blackie. He was totally black… in case you were wondering. She was more creative with the naming of her budgerigar (parakeet), Sidney.
El día después del funeral. El gato de Dale, Blackie. Era totalmente negro … en caso de que te lo estuvieras preguntando. Ella fue más creativa con el nombre de su periquito, Sidney.
On the flight back to New York before heading home to Boston.
En el vuelo de regreso a Nueva York antes de dirigirse a casa en Boston.
Around 1960 with our first budgerigar (parakeet). He was named by our father and was called Oscar Dinglehoffer. When he died, we got a new parakeet called Oscar Dinglehoffer the Second.

Alrededor de 1960 con nuestro primer periquito. Nombrado por nuestro padre. Fue llamado Oscar Dinglehoffer. Cuando él murió, conseguimos un nuevo periquito llamado Oscar Dinglehoffer el Segundo.

A Couple Of Feet

So, the 36th anniversary of the death of Big Sister Dale has passed. San Geraldo honored her by buying a box of “galletas de rellena de naranja” (soft biscuits filled with orange jam and covered in chocolate). Dale introduced me to these in 1970. She usually bought Pim’s brand, but this Spanish version brought back the sweet memories just the same.

WE FINISHED THEM OFF IN ONE SITTING… JUST AS DALE WOULD HAVE DONE.
1954: LOOK AT MY EYES! MY REACTION TO THOSE CUSTOM FABRICS, PERHAPS?
OR MAYBE JUST MY SHOCK AT MISPLACING MY FEET.

Speaking of misplaced feet: Once Dale hit her teens, she began to train me in some basic social skills. For about a week before any party — wedding, bar mitzvah, school event — she’d drag me into her room every night, turn on her record player, and [try to] teach me to dance. The results weren’t exceptional but the lessons were a joy.

Dale taught me dancing in a hurry…

Good Things

While walking in sunshine the other day (before the storm, the rain, the clouds, and the rough seas), I was listening to music on my 15-year-old iPod. “Good Thing” by the Fine Young Cannibals came on. A great workout song.

I heard “Good thing, where have you gone?” and an image of my sister Dale flashed in my head.

I started crying.

I kept on walking at my vigourous, happy pace. I kept on crying.

It’s been 36 years (March 7) since she died. My good thing, you’ve been gone too long.

Dale would have adored San Geraldo and these other two good things in my life.

SIBLINGS…

Out With The Frying Pan

Around 1974, I went with a friend to visit her great-aunt and great-uncle in Lockport, New York. We polished silver for them and were then served a huge meal, a rare treat in those years (the home-cooked meal, not the silver polishing).

The couple had been married more than 50 years. After lunch, she wouldn’t let us help with the dishes. He cleared the table and got to work at the sink. I was impressed with this liberated couple and said so. He laughed and she explained:

“Our first night as husband and wife, I cooked a nice dinner. He ate, went into the front parlour, lit up his pipe, and opened the newspaper. So, I threw everything, even our new wedding China, out the kitchen window into the driveway.”

“I’ve done the dishes ever since,” he laughed.

PART OF A WEDDING GIFT TO MY PARENTS, 1947.


The Dowager Duchess
The night before my mother’s apartment was emptied in late August, San Geraldo cooked our “last supper.” My parents had received a set of pots and pans as a wedding gift. Over the years, most of them developed bell-shaped bottoms that did not sit flat on any surface. Last year, my mother told me she hated those pots and pans.

“They were cheap and I never liked them,” she said.

“So, why didn’t you just replace them?” I asked.

“I didn’t want to insult [the person who gave them to her] and by the time she died [only a few years ago], I thought, ‘What’s the point? I never cook anymore anyway.’ “

A Dream Come True
My fantasy ever since I met my friend’s aunt and uncle has been to finish a meal and simply throw everything away instead of washing up.

So, after our last supper, I cleared the table and washed the dishes (they were part of a very nice set, after all). However, I took the three dirty pans (and only those three pans) and threw them down the compactor chute. (Throwing them out the 16th-floor kitchen window could have been deadly.)

The Dowager Duchess would have liked that.

LENOX CHINA DISH GIVEN BY THE SAME PERSON IN THE EARLY ’70s.
THE DUCHESS REGULARLY COMPLAINED, “I HATE LENOX!” BUT DISPLAYED IT FOR 40+ YEARS.
(IT WAS ONLY MEANT TO SERVE CORN AND COULD HAVE BEEN PUT AWAY SOMEWHERE.)