Friday, January 20, 2012

Better Days and Going Dis Way

I should start by telling you, very kind readers, that I am doing much better since my last post and actually woke up this morning in a pleasant frame of mind. No pep talk needed! Thank you all for the understanding and empathy, the kind notes, and the moral support.

MY TALENTED BROTHER
I've shared a little bit on these pages about my special brother Chuck (or Chucky or Charles or Charlie or CB, depending on how you know him and when you met him). I've told you about Chuck's bowling skills, but I haven't told you that he possesses many other special qualities and talents.  One such talent: He is brilliant with maps and knows the NYC transit system like the back of his hand — as long as you don't ask him if it's his right or left hand. He's never really mastered that.

Once, while Jerry and I lived in Connecticut, Alice visited from South Dakota and we drove down to New York to see The Dowager Duchess. We then decided we would take the subway to — I can't remember which — either the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Museum of Natural History. The Dowager Duchess and I both knew where the museum was located, but we had no idea how to get there by public transportation. I asked Chuck. He provided detailed directions, telling me where to change trains, what stairs to take to get to the next train, even which car to use on each train so we would be nearest the stairs at each station. At the end of his instructions, he said in his very strong New York accent, "When you get off the train, don't go dis way [pointing right]. Don't go dis way [pointing left]. Go dis way [using both hands together to point somewhere between left and right]."

For the last leg of the journey, we got on the train car he told us to use. We stood by the doors he told us to stand by. And we all laughed as we reached our final stop, hopping off the train and repeating his instructions aloud. As we finished the mantra, "Go dis way," we looked up and saw a turnstyle exit with a sign above it directing us to the museum entrance. He is amazing.

DO I GOTTA PAINT YOU A PICTURE?
Chuck is very good with watercolor. He had given us a painting when he visited us in Connecticut in 1990. Ten years later, when we were about to open our hotel, he said he wanted to give us something "for good luck" and asked what would be good. "Anything you want," he added. I responded, "Why don't you do a new painting for us?" He loved the idea and asked what the painting should be. I told him the hotel was in Palm Springs, in the desert, with cacti and sunshine, and mountains and a pool; it was on two floors, had 16 rooms, and its name was Viola's Resort. Any of those things would be fun, I told him. Early the next year, we flew Chuck out for his annual visit and he brought with him three watercolors, which we framed and proudly displayed in the guest rooms.

PAINTED FOR US BY MY BROTHER WHEN WE LIVED IN CONNECTICUT.

PALM SPRINGS. DESERT, MOUNTAINS, CACTUS, AND SUN.

THE FLOORS AND ROOMS OF VIOLA'S RESORT (VR).

THE FLOORPLAN.

Jerry's home office here in Sevilla is all in white and he said he'd like to use Chuck's watercolors in their colorful frames to make the room more interesting. I knew Chuck would be pleased, and told him the plan. When we visited New York in December, Chuck arrived at my mother's apartment with a new painting done especially for Jerry. "For his office," he said as he handed it to me. It hasn't always been easy for us, but my brother has a very big heart.

OUR MOST RECENT ACQUISITION.

36 comments:

  1. Talent must run in the family. You both are very talented. Thanks for sharing the paintings - they are really special.

    Glad you are feeling better.

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  2. It's so funny when we call people "special" and the special thing is their talents and their zest for life.
    The joy in your brother's artwork is just beautiful.

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  3. Jo:
    Thanks so much! I love Chuck's paintings and the stories he tells.

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  4. Beautiful! And he's generous, too!

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    Replies
    1. Walt the Fourth:
      My sister, Dale, would laugh at that comment. He loved to count the coins in his piggy bank and wouldn't part with a penny. She called him Scrooge.

      Delete
  5. I've got an idea...you say you feel better? Well, I've got a gimmick to make you laugh your ass off. I'll send you a photo of me naked. I am sure the Spanish paramedics are just as cute as the ones here.

    saludos,
    raulito

    Did you know I'm a painter?

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    Replies
    1. Raulito:
      Not necessary. I get to look at myself in the mirror every morning! Then again, I haven't seen a Spanish paramedic yet.

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    2. And, no, I don't think I knew you were a painter. Do you have anything on your blog?

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    3. Hi bud:
      Have a lot of it on my blog. Some of the background images for headers are segments of my paintings. (monthly blog Award of Excellence)for example features a Dutch windmill.

      And you don't look half as bad or as old as I do...so relax and enjoy the mirror image.

      saludos,
      raulito

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    4. Ja! One of the things I've never been good at is enjoying the mirror image. But, I'll try.

      I will start scouring your blog for your paintings!

      Delete
  6. I love the joy and freedom in those paintings, no wonder Jerry has them in his home office. Your brother is very talented to memorise NYC transit system like that; I bet it is on a par with the London taxi drivers 'Knowledge' test!

    So glad to hear that you are getting back to normal. x

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    1. Elaine:
      Chuck and I both love maps, but his abilities with the NYC transit system is uncanny... and entertaining. Thanks again for the support this past week (and always)!

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  7. Fabulous watercolours Mitch, your Bro is a talented guy. So bright and cheery.

    Glad you're ok and in higher spirits. :-)

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    1. Chris:
      Doing so much better. And I didn't even have any cake. Chuck is not necessarily a bright and cheery type of guy, so his watercolors (well, OK, his watercoloUrs) are especially surprising.

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  8. the talent your brother has is amazing, and the love you have for him is boundless....beautiful :)

    Sooooooo glad you feel better dear friend :)

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  9. Monkey Man:
    I do love the paintings... and my brother. Thanks again for the kindness. Doing well here.

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  10. Chuck sounds like quite the 'character'. I may have mentioned somewhere along the way that I worked with/taught students/young adults with learning differences. It was the BEST time in my career. Their personalities and kind souls (for the most part) are still with me...just ask Ron!!
    I have a watercolour (don't dare to leave out THAT U. lol) of 'Marigolds' that a student did for me.....it is wonderful.
    You ARE so fortunate to have been blessed with his presence in your life.

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    1. Jim:
      Chuck is definitely quite the character. It was not an easy childhood (or adulthood, for that matter) with Chuck, but it has been an interesting and enriching one. Besides, Jerry and I enjoy being idolized... and we'd never find our way around New York (or is it New YoUrk?) without him.

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  11. Hello Mitch:
    We are so pleased that you are in good spirits and what better way to illustrate this than with your brother's lively paintings. They are so full of life and colour, clearly someone with a loving heart. He clearly is very special indeed to you and so, we suspect, are you to him.

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    1. J&L:
      The paintings really are energizing and happy. He does have a very loving heart and not an easy time demonstrating it, and that makes the paintings even more special.

      Delete
  12. Mitch, I'm glad you feeling cheerier. As for the paintings, I would be proud to hang any of those on my walls. (That is if I could find the room - I have a very small house and I seem to have accumulated a lot of paintings!) I love watercoloUrs. (In NZ we use British spelling. In Australia they leave out the "u" - the rebels!)

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  13. Judith:
    Oh, those Australians! (Astralians?)

    I know what you mean about finding the room. We had stacks of framed art in the garage over the years because we were such "amassers" (I'd say "collectors" but that would imply a plan) that we ran out of walls. We only brought some select things with us to Spain. Chuck's paintings were on that elite list. It's strange to actually have space on the walls for once in our lives.

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    1. I know I'm going to have to buy a bigger house some day just for the wall space. Oh, and for bookshelves.

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    2. Judith:
      Oh, yes, the books! We had been thinning out those ranks for years. Still shipped a number of book boxes to Spain. But, now we've got Kindles!

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  14. Don't know why but when I read the last paragraph I burst into tears. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful brother. Love the watercolors. Now off to find the kleenex.

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    1. Nubian:
      My goal with my next post will be to NOT make you cry! As Chuck would say, "Now cut dat out!"

      Delete
  15. Mitch, I'm pleased that (at least at the time you wrote this blog yesterday) that you were feeling good - but, without trying to be negative, we know that swings, in both directions, are more likely than not. But I do genuinely hope this positive feeling can be maintained. If ever you do want to let your feelings really rip on this site then I can assure you that you will have more than a few bloggers with sympathetic and supportive feelings towards you. However, with your talented brother, Chuck, you already should have in him and his artwork, at least one further reliable means of 'support', and in the flesh too.

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  16. Raybeard:
    You are so kind. You're absolutely right, my moods are still swinging. But today is even better than yesterday. I don't think I'll be losing it again any time soon over a sock.

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  17. Mitch, that was sweet! Tell your brother, that I can get around the Paris Metro with ease, after only 8 months of use, but I still walk everywhere above ground in NY because I have Subwayphobia after a decade of visiting NY Always getting lost.
    Genius.
    Have a great weekend! tim

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    Replies
    1. Theaterdog: I do find the NY subway system easy to understand (the maps are good), but unlike my brother I could never memorize the entire thing. Nor could I tell you the doors, staircases, and cars to take. Amazing. You have a great weekend as well.

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  18. Water color painting is both enjoyable and none too easy.
    I think most of us get turned off by it as it is given to children to do, so we think of the genre as kiddie stuff 'anyone can do'. Perhaps we should 'withhold it' for later ages?

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    1. Ur-spo:
      I have never been one for doing watercolor -- not immediate enough for me, I think. My mother is also very good at it. We've got a bunch of of her work, too, that I'll have to do a blog post on one of these days.

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  19. Mitch,
    I don't know how I keep missing your posts. I have now added you to my inspiration blog roll so I don't miss anymore. You did make me chuckle with your comment. I am having a difficult time selling things at the moment. I want to keep everything but husband tells me that's not the point of Yonks Di. He is a poop! I read your last blog and sorry you have been under a cloud. Also glad you can self analyse and tell yourself how it is. We are all a result of our past, all damaged and with baggage. It's how we deal with it that counts and you sound like you know what's happening. I always tell myself the past does not equal the future. We survive despite our parents efforts. I have a beautiful 20 year old daughter and I am sure I've screwed her up in more ways than one, but she will survive despite my meddling! You are precious Mitch, we all are! Keep smiling my friend, you have so much to give.
    Di
    X

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  20. PS: your brother is a genius!
    Di. :-)

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    1. YONKS:
      My brother is pretty special!

      You are absolutely right, we do survive despite our parents' efforts. And you're also right that the past doesn't have to equal the future. Anyway, I'm sure YOU have been a flawless mother... no matter what your daughter says!

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