Inside The Lines

As a kid, every year I received the same present at my birthday party from one guest. It was a coloring book, eight Crayola crayons and a vial of dime store perfume.

While I never used the scent, I did color and was always instructed by Mom that I was old enough to draw inside the lines and I always did. There’s a drawing I did around age five from scratch (no coloring book) of The Wizard of Oz. I framed it this year and with all I’ve framed over the years this is my husband’s favorite work and I’ll always keep it for him.

It took until my late twenties until I let myself begin the struggle to draw outside the lines, think outside the box. Some of my greatest ideas come to me at three in the morning and I rush to write them down. My art never amounted to anything, I’m better at designing the framing and taking photos, but the deconstruction and re-construction of ideas is my forte. Oh, I cook as well. And write.

Perhaps being a child of the late fifties, I was raised to be educated, well-bred, with good manners and a knowledge of opera, dance, music. I thought it was foisted upon me but now know that my parents didn’t have that luxury. My dad was the first in his family to ever graduate from college and he has a PhD. Mom was second in her family but only because she had four kids and my parents helped my aunt go to school before Mom went and of course, graduated cum laude the same year I did.

I had to walk around the house with a huge dictionary on my head for posture and take ballet, tap, piano and violin. I was the eldest and had to set an example for my younger siblings.

Even when I was “on my own” at college I never missed a class unless I was in the infirmary once with the flu. Don’t worry, my friends busted me out and I got to go to the concert that night.

To a shy reader, you’re me. Sometimes you have to stop and say “that’s enough.” Leave it at that or fight whatever is bothering you whether it may be bullies at school or a mean boss. Speak your mind. Make your words work for you.

While I was soc/psych I’m not in the field so don’t presume to “treat” anyone but I believe in my heart that many of these school shootings and bombings over the years could have been prevented with a good family environment, mentors, coping skills and just plain love.

When I finally came out of my emotional shell and found my voice, literally and on paper, I had and still have friends to help direct my energies. I’ve raised two dogs in succession, ten years each right now with the second on my pillow as I write this and have worked with animals since I was a kid, and with shelter pets for over 20 years.

Finding one’s voice is tougher as a girl, especially when I grew up. I was supposed to make the boy always win at sports and always feel smarter yet S and I were reading years above our grade level in second grade so were set aside to work together. I was feisty at ten, though, told the school I wanted to take shop rather than home ec. I was denied, of course so as team leader the team decided that everything we were assigned would have chocolate in it. Don’t I wish Bobby Flay was around then and that chilis were available in the store. Cheers! Dee



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