Flowers Are Words That Say, “I’m Sorry!”

My dead husband had nothing against flowers. He simply disliked the words they spoke. John claimed flowers said, “I’m sorry for what I did,” or “Love me now, because I’m soon going to cause trouble.”

Amy maintains the computer part of my childrens’ books and my Outsider Art business. One day John heard us trade survival ideas. In case we lose electricity we should; store food, water, other items, and use a new, never before used, toilet plunger to wash clothes in our bath tubs.

John shopped ahead, and on the next holiday (still feeling traditional flower- type gifts were inappropriate) he gave Amy and I both TOILET PLUNGERS!

John died two years, and a few days, ago. On holidays, when many people decorate graves of those they love with flowers, I splash water instead. John enjoyed a good flower but his passion was his old 1984 Toyota truck. The splashing shapes below and washing John’s truck are words that say, “I love you John. I’m looking forward to being with you again!”

My neighbor Faun brought me homemade spring rolls.
“Enjoy my retired!”
I like her terminology.

Reminder From Dead Husband

My dead husband once said, “Everything I hear reminds me of me.”

We can  consume all that is around us, then let our bones vibrate to Mossorgsky, next we cannot sit still while contemplating quantum physics. Our energy can be still, almost petrified, while confronting something new. Our souls shrink from bad and our cells ring with the good.  It’s then we are awake as is Sally below.

A Crow, Cat, Squirrl Memory

Before John, my husband, died he had a habit of sitting on the front porch steps. An old yellow cat always sat beside him on one side and a crow or a blue jay would take turns standing beside John on the other. Together they surveyed our short front yard and the people walking by.

John’s friend, the squirrel, would run up to the steps and hesitate to make sure everyone was on his best behavior then scamper up to John’s open hand. The squirrel lifted up one of the three peanuts John held, roll it around, inspect it thoroughly, then put the peanut back in John’s hand.  The squirrel carefully picked up and compared all three nuts replacing them in turn to John’s hand and  only then would the squirrel pick up the biggest peanut and run off with it.

Sometimes the squirrel didn’t run very far!  Sometimes the little rascal grabbed one of my  bonsai by the trunk, lifting  my little tree up and out, and placed the tree and its exposed root system on the porch beside its half empty bonsai pot. Then the squirrel buried his peanut in the remaining puddle of dirt. How could I complain? But if I was on the porch I’d scold the squirrel. He’d glare at me then run off and pretend to search for an alternative place…. until I wasn’t looking! I  repotted my tree several times a day.

Two Crows – Framed

John’s Dad Sees A Baby Before Its Born – Outsider Art

The older our culture grows the bigger our reality gets- just ask a physicist. John’s Daddy saw a baby coming down into a house next door just before the baby was born.

A few people I know have seen babies just before the little ones come to their homes, sometimes days or weeks ahead. Several cultures consider this occurrence regular, normal, and necessary. In the picture below the reflection on the man’s glasses shows a ladder draping down from above into a house.

John’s Dad Seeing Babies Born – Framed

Wolves, Babies, and Calapander’s Antimacassar- Outsider Art

Ladies came to a sewing group to admire fun new hair styles, fantastic dresses, and a handmade antimacassar. The picture is called, Calapander’s Antimacassar. The first word, Calapander, is an invented name and the second word, antimacassar, is a cloth. It’s often times fancy and set on furniture to keep hair oil from damaging it. Years ago Macassar Oil was very popularly used on hair especially by men. In my sewing group we show off all types of hand made items and our new grand baby pictures.

My husband, John, and our neighbor were very close having both served as warriors at the same time and place. One day my neighbor called John insisting he rush right over. Fairly soon John returned home very puzzled. My neighbor’s new grand baby, just a few days old, had come to visit for the first time and John was called over to inspect and hold and love the child!

After a moment I understood. I remembered the first time my son entered Cub Scouts. The leader greeted us all then called my son to the front and almost immediately called up the rest of the Cub Scout pack. My son up front and I in my seat were shocked! A pack of boys completely surrounded my son SNIFFING him! After many sniffs from each boy the pack approved of my son and were asked to sit back down. The leader explained Rudyard Kipling wrote about wolves sniffing every new member as a way of accepting them into the FAMILY.

John was so important to my neighbor a similar ceremony was called for and it occurs to me showing off new baby pictures is exactly the same thing.


Outsider art

Calapander’s Antiimacasser

Outsider Art- Understanding Plastic Vanities

This is a picture of me looking out my open mouth and nose holes.  Outside I see windows. It’s intriguing to stand beside someone and the two of you see a thing before you, but differently..  By the time my children could notice having memories, I’d hear,”Mom do you remember the time we…” Often I didn’t.

My husband and I would often sit with friends and I’d remember a very dear memory. A special and romantic, but extremely creative, thing he had done for me. Then he’s say,”I didn’t do that.” We’d laugh at the oddity if it.

Understanding Plastic Vanities

Understanding Plastic Vanities

Nancy Mauerman

OUTSIDER ART John’s Dad Seeing Babies Born

Late at night John’s dad saw a ladder from the sky connected to his neighbor’s house then saw a baby descend. The next day he discovered his neighbor had given birth at home on that exact same hour and those same minutes. In the painting we see the ladder and house reflected in his eyes glasses.

The Bible tells us all things were created before they were formed here on earth. With this in mind my friend Sandy noticed she and I had been born six weeks apart. She simply beamed and said, “We came here in the same batch!”

Abstract Portrait Of A Man

John’s Dad Seeing Babies Born

My husband Died a Few Weeks Ago- and Outsider Art- Portrait With Lizards

Johnny my husband died a few weeks ago and it hurts. But I’m not complaining.

I drew Portrait With Lizards a few years before I met John and since that time his love and providing care have made me a giant. (To see his photo see my blog on July 23.)

Most of my life I have hurt in anguish. Now I hurt with love mixed in. John’s biggest passion in life was to help the people around him be successful so he touched family, friends, neighbors, VA hospital staff, and our church family in deep and profound ways. While driving if he had to decide whether to speed up and cut in front of a bus, or slow down and let the bus go first he always choose to slow because,”The bus driver  was working, I’m only going to the store.”  He’d look and watch for wild crazy ways to help even strangers walking by on the sidewalk. Most of the stories, stored inside me, are private and I laugh to remember them.

My friends, neighbors, family and church family are bigger now because of John and are so caring toward me. So my hurting is mixed with John’s love and theirs. Thanks John. I love you.

Portrait With Lizards

Portrait With Lizards

My Husband Died Leaving Me and Two (We Don’t Use the Name ‘Step’) Children

I read Shakespeare to my daughter (age two) and my son (five). Both understood well the plots and character traits in the plays. Paul’s picture is below as he showed me he understood the word ‘pensive’. I called both children as John my husband lay dieing. They both dropped everything and came to his side. When Paul got home he wrote his feelings about John who came into his life a little over half way through his childhood.

Things that should have been said while you were alive…

John, you were a totally unassuming man when I met you. The type of guy you walk by 20 or so times in an average weekend here in Portland… You were average height or less, bushy beard, slightly stalky build with a frame that turned out to be much like you, 15 times stronger then it looked. The one thing people might notice is that a grown man was wearing a fanny pack in public. For those of us that knew why it just added to the legend that was your personality.

The things that the average person on the street didn’t know about you could fill a house. Behind your quite nature was a silent warrior combined with a gentleness that was unparalleled, a loving and giving nature that re-defined the definition of a “real” man. You giggled like a little kid when you gave people presents, when anyone asked for help you never said no and to my knowledge you never broke a single promise. You could disagree with every aspect of a person’s lifestyle but when that person’s basement flooded you were the FIRST person over there with a flashlight and a hammer… You were an American hero, decorated several times with medals of valor and bravery in combat, but you never once mentioned it unless asked, and even then stories were told with a humbleness that can’t be taught.

Even after your days as a soldier you fought for the weak, never missing a chance to stand up for someone that couldn’t do so for themselves. And when you did everyone around you could see you meant absolute business and the cowardly attackers wanted none of it.

But most importantly you loved my mother… and you did so with the same uncompromising attitude and style that you lived the rest of your life. You wore your “nice gun” to the wedding, booby trapped your house for W2k and covered the cameras on your laptop with clay. You protected your family, loved my mother’s children, even me… when I wasn’t as accepting of my mother as my sister was.

Yesterday you died on your own terms. I would have expected nothing else from you. You told everyone how you wanted it, even if they didn’t want to listen. You bought a bracelet that said “do not resuscitate” and if that wasn’t enough you also bought a necklace that said the same thing. You refused pain killers until you couldn’t talk anymore to tell people to leave you alone… And despite all the pain, after 3 days of not being able to talk you found the strength to wake up from it all and just a clearly as when you were healthy told my mother goodbye, told her she did everything the way you wanted and that you loved her.

The world ls not the same without you. You could teach this next generation so much about how to be a man. You are the quiet warrior that walked the walk without ever needing to say one word. You gave my mother new life and for that I will always be grateful.

Yesterday we lost a REAL hero.

RIP John Mauerman

By Paul Campbell


Double Pensive - Portrait Of A Boy

Double Pensive