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Where My Art Flourished
Home: WWII Years and Onward
On leaving school, I dropped in the antique room to say goodbye to my drawing teacher. He was disappointed that I would not be coming back as he wanted to send me to Dr. Carpenter to study painting. How I would have loved that!

I had a friend that received an unwanted birthday gift of an oil paint set. I traded my hard to get lone pair of nylon stockings for the oils and painted her portrait in an evening gown. Her mother had it framed and hung it in their home so I guess it was good enough for my first oil painting.

After school, finding work related to art was impossible for me. First job was at Dawkins plant nursery. All I did was answer the phone in a tiny frame shack with one door. One side was half open with a counter where the phone was located and I had to keep watch as the owner was gone most of the time having ordered me to not sell anything. A lizard decided to come out from behind a license tacked to the wall and do a writhing dance by the phone scaring me into a hasty retreat to the door. Then, its skin began to loosen and, ugh, it began to eat it! I wouldn’t have answered that phone if it had rung! Fortunately, it didn’t. The nursery closed soon after, which wasn’t a disappointment to me. Six dollars a week wasn’t worth my time.

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The next job was at Dickson and Ives department store downtown, selling jewelry and purses. Take home pay was eleven dollars a week. What a boring job. I must have had a woebegone expression on my face when leaning on the counter as Mr. Dickson walked up to me asking, “Don’t you like it here?” I simply replied, “No.” He didn’t fire me. Later, I quit. It wasn’t in me to push merchandise. I recall a soldier, private in rank, wanting to buy his mother a brooch. I was to promote an original that cost thirty-five dollars and he bought it after my sales talk. I felt guilty as the purchase cost him most of his pay and I suspect that he was lonely, just wanting to talk to a young lady.

The next job was with the Tax Assessor at the Orange County Court House where filing and simple typing was required. The people I worked with were very nice. Here, sixty a month was better. After three months, dad decided I was needed at home as there was much I could contribute.

Being at home was where I could paint in my spare time practicing on family members and friends. Later, requests for portraits began to bloom. I started using photography for capturing the desired expressions and saving time for the customer and for me, earning enough to pay for my darkroom in the garage. Pictorial photography is an art in itself as well as important tool to my painting.

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