Oct 7, 2013

drawing memory (nostalgia)

My parents met in the late 1950s when they were sixteen and started having children around twenty-four.  According to my mom, during this time they mostly wanted to  dance. I have some of my father's 45s and they all have "Dunn" written on them because he didn't want his records getting mixed up with other people's records at house parties.   

This image of him leaning back with a cigarette is actually from a photograph taken in a nightclub, probably at the Plantation Inn in West Memphis, AR.  For this drawing I took him out of the club and placed him in a setting  that I imagined to be my parent's first apartment, with him hanging out with their friends, spinning records, and taking a smoke break from dancing.

This is me as a child, although proportionately I drew myself as older.  I'm lying on a gurney having anesthesia administered through a gas mask while I watched my worried and helpless father pacing on the other side of a window. I felt pure panic and was crying really hard - it's my first memory.
I was born totally crossed-eyed with my eyes fixed straight down the middle.  By the time I was four I had four operations. I recently told my mom this first memory and she said, "You were always so good through those operations.  You hardly cried or seemed in any pain.  I guess your Dad didn't tell me  about this because he didn't want me to know that you were having such a hard time."
Our summer vacations were weeklong camping trips to area lakes like Sardis and Pickwick.   We'd usually go with several families so there were lots of kids running around.  I would swim hard all day and by evening I'd be exhausted.   Nothing felt better than lounging around after dinner in my mom's lap  (or dad's) with my head nestled in her chest and her arms wrapped around me, hearing the muffled adult conversation and laughter. 

Soon after we arrived home from these trips my dad would hose out the sand from our red VW van.