Where Were You…? -Part 2


Originally Posted 10/11/13  Note*  This blogpost was originally posted on another server and transferred here so I apologize about the formatting!

Welcome back!  You are either here because you have stumbled upon me by accident or because you made it through my stories last week, and have come back for more.  (To whom I say, “Thank you!”)

A quick recap: Last week I explained about my nomadic past and introduced the concept of the penny game.  I then unleashed memories based on the year of the coins, and used my thesis artwork (from many years past) as a backdrop to where I was.

I’ve got a few more pennies jingling in my pocket and further artwork to reveal, so let’s get started!

www.theflyingchagall.blogspot.com- London 1995-1997
London 1995-1997- 28″x36″- Mixed Medium- This piece was based on the London Underground Map overlaid on an aerial map of the city.  The red meandering line represents the Thames River that snakes through the city.  Pieces of the map were broken off and scattered in the outskirts along with splattered paint to represent the colorful chaos that is London.

First penny- 1996- A transition year.  Most of us have had plenty of these throughout our lives, and I am no exception.  This one entailed graduating from college, getting married, moving to London, finding a flat, and landing a job.  Whew!  It’s hard to choose just one memory from that era, but I’ll try! 

Back before I had finally found that job, I used to ride the Underground and explore the different Boroughs of London.  On this day, I was in Camden- an area in North London with many open-air markets specializing in alternative fashion and art.  It was a great place to people-watch!

I had just spotted a funky jacket and had decided to purchase it, but first needed to visit a bank machine.  As I was about to withdraw my money, a Hispanic woman approached me.  In a panic and with broken English she told me, “Is gon eat your card!  It happen to me. Is gon eat your card!”  As a gullible 22 year old, I believed her and thanked her profusely for the warning.  Then I proceeded into the bank to retrieve my card caught in the machine.  Lo and behold, there was no card.  I was scammed!

That woman had been working with a partner.  While one distracted, the other stole the pin # and card.  I felt hurt and betrayed that someone could pull the wool over my eyes that easily.  I was also terrified for the funds in that account- now in the hands of strangers to do as they pleased.

In the end, we were able to block the card but not before they got away with 600 pounds. (About $800)  An expensive lesson!

www.theflyingchagall.blogspot.com- Virginia 1988-1990
Virginia 1988-1990- 28″x36″- Mixed Medium- Overlays of maps from where I lived in the Roanoke area were tinted and then sewn together like a patchwork quilt.    Underneath is a tangle of roads which are accentuated in blue to give the effect of veins under the skin. 

Next Penny- 1988– 1988 was the year my family and I moved to Virginia from Wisconsin.  Talk about culture shock!  This is also when I began my first job as a cashier at Hardees, a Southern fast-food joint.

Working in food service was a real eye-opener.  I learned how to take orders from a boss, deal with fickle customers, get along with diverse co-workers, and how challenging it is to serve food, fast! 

I also unearthed some attributes about myself.  I found that I made a pretty decent worker bee, possessed competent people skills, was an ace at the drive thru, and that I did NOT want to make a career out of it!

My theory is that everyone should work in food service sometime during their life to obtain an appreciation for what goes into cooking and serving food to a demanding public.  So tip those waitresses- they are working their butts off!

www.theflyingchagall.blogspot.com- Wisconsin 1978-1988
Wisconsin 1978-1988-28″x36″- Mixed Medium- Here many aeriel views of the area I lived were spliced together with overlays of Milwaukee and the surrounding counties.  At the heart of it is Waukesha, the city I grew up in for 10 years.  These overlays were attached by rivets and wires, a nod to the tent posts we staked during the many camping expeditions my family and I went on while living there.

Last Penny- 1980– I was 8 years old, and we were living in a series of crummy apartments while we waited to advance in line and receive government housing for my mother, 3 siblings, and I.  I don’t remember much about the apartments themselves- always cramped with paper thin walls.  I do remember often riding my bike around the drab parking lots.

 This is where I also met Eddie.  He was a year or so older than I and what could only be described as a “bad egg”.  He was small and scrawny but fearless and unpredictable.  He was known to steal, get in fights, and antagonize the other kids.

 On one particular day as I was riding my bike, Eddie jumped out of the bushes and grabbed my tire to stop me.  He then proceeded to pull down his pants and expose himself to me.  I had younger brothers, so it wasn’t the sight of him that frightened me but the forwardness of his actions. Then he leered towards me, brushing my leg.  That’s when my flight synapsis were activated, and I tore out of there as fast as possible.

That experience shook me to the core.  I’m thankful that I was not physically harmed, but my childhood innocence was forever altered by that encounter.Even unpleasant memories can be overturned when examined in the light of how it helped to shape and form our consciousness and develop our character.  That’s how I choose to look at it, anyway.  

 I appreciate the opportunity to meander through my memories via the pennies and show you the artwork that has been apart of my past.

Have A Great Week!