Family Walk

Do you suppose the baby in the stroller is forth or fifth generation from her mature family member? This family from Ukraine walked by my house most everyday for a long time but by the time I’d thought to make the picture and finished it I saw them no more. I was disappointed I couldn’t show them the drawing, perhaps they’d moved.

The sketch is drawn in Crayola Crayolas. Crayons remind me of kids- kids remind me of family- and that’s what all of my children’s books are about. I do believe in the heavens when a person stands up and proudly says, “I am Jane Austen!” then another says, “I am Napoleon!” then a third stands to say, “I am a mother!” It’s then that everyone will stand up and cheer!

Buy good and interesting kids books and when your kids are “too big” for them leave them cracked open standing up side ways on the shelf or table and when the kids are corrected because of mischief or discouraged, scared, or rebellious they’ll see the books and feel and remember the bonds of family. Books shared together are a life- long gluing agents.

Family Walk

Family Walk

Mount Rainier and the Red Hat

Most every time I’ve visited Washington state I find Mt. Rainier floating her massive shadow across the cloud covered sky. I’ve never seen this in Portland Oregon where I live with my friend Mt Hood.

In my new book, ‘Anna’s Robin’ Anna shrinks to mouse size and hops on her robin’s back and they soar through mountain shadows in the sky. Anna and her robin also discover other wonderful oddities in nature but mostly the book speaks about how much Anna is loved by her Mom, her robin  and her Father in Heaven who created the wonderful oddities.

Below is a crayola crayon portrait of Anna. I drew this when my daughter was small.and still wearing her red hat all day, every day, to the store, to friends homes, to church and to bed.


Red Hat - Portrait Of A Girl

Red Hat

Verdi’s Requiem Anna’s Robin

My husband John died. Verdi’s Requiem is my mirror with its pain, eminence beauty, and the loudest drums I’ve ever felt.

The picture below is from my book Anna’s Robin. The first three pages speak of a gentle sorrow and a big adventure;

Anna was leaving again,                                                                                                 Wearing her red hat high.                                                                                                    She carried an alligator purse,                                                                                             And kissed her mama goodbye.

She left but don’t moan Momma,                                                                                      Don’t moan Momma,                                                                                                         Don’t moan Momma,                                                                                                         she’ll come home soon.

Anna shrank to mouse size and hopped on her robin’s back.                                            The robin’s chest was rusty orange and her had a yellow beak.                                              And because they’d been friends for a long time,                                                                     He sang her a robin song raspy and sweet.

John’s on a big adventure, I’m the pain waiting to see him again, I’m in the beauty of memory, and I’m feeling the big drums of life of Verdi’ Requiem.




Anna's Robin 3

Anna’s Robin 3

Mom In Five Flavors

Mom In Five Flavors is a crayola crayon drawing of John’s mom petting her cat in front of four pictures. Top right picture shows her in her eighties kayaking. Bottom right shows her on the same trip wearing panty hose instead of a suit because she’d refused to bring one. When she changed her mind and decided to swim she pulled panty hose high above her head, Mom being so short, then wrapped the hose around and around her torso for modesty.

Top left is an Outsider Art painting I’d made of a shadow. The shadow in flying- a bird shadow. Mom and I both made strange pictures for our walls. The picture on the bottom left is of a photo she’d taken years ago of Patty but showing only her skirt, knees and bare feet.. Her grand children would come to play often, dress up in her clothes, become princesses and dance in the backyard. Mom laughed and danced too while she snapped pictures. So for years I’d get an envelope in the mail stuffed full of pictures. Sometimes four inches of the top of a head labeled on the back,Chelsea, or feet, or knees, and always labelled with grand children’s names. Mom knew I’d treasure an interesting way of looking and saving memories.

Mom In Five Flavors

Mom In Five Flavors

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