I learned this idea of adorning nature from my friend Dorothy who lived on wooded property in Kettle Moraine State Forest. She cleared hidden spaces and decorated them, creating lovely sitting areas, sections for prayer and meditation, and a fairy garden for her granddaughter. She posted signage to keep visitors from getting lost and leading to forest exits, entrances and toboggan hills. She designed (and had constructed by a canvas company) a tent that was a replica of a red barn, and she lived in it during the warm months. And once she ordered ice block forms and built an igloo at the base of the woods – big enough for several of us to crawl into for a small gathering!
Every one of my grandkids has hiked “Dorothy’s Woods” with me, which inspired a series of paintings I named after her. She passed away very recently, but I will never forget her strength, courage and inventiveness.
Dorothy is not the only one who has left my earthly sphere. I’ve said goodbye to a number of people who’ve influenced my life in this last year. Please indulge me as I pay tribute to some of them:
Via zoom, I witnessed the funeral of Dave Lammert, the father of my three children and one who bravely served in Viet Nam. Cancer was another battle he fought with all that he had, and losing him was too soon for my kids. He left us on Thanksgiving Day around dinner time. I am thankful that Tobi held him as he breathed his last. She told me it was lovely; it was soft…and this gives us comfort 🙏
Shortly after Dave’s passing, I lost my precious friend Char, who encouraged my work and allowed me to exhibit in her space, Charlene’s Gallery Ten in Door County. Our relationship was about so much more than business. She had a collection of funny stories about her own faux pas, but it was her way of telling them that always had me in stitches. We seemed to revert back to our childhoods when we were together. Allow me to share just one of many examples: During a day of working hard in her gallery, we took a much needed break and went for a walk along a country road. We came upon an open field of lovely soft grass. We couldn’t resist and ran to flop on our backs and gaze up at the blue sky of floating clouds. It was simply heaven, and we agreed we could stay there forever…until Char admitted in a wee tentative voice, “Barb, I have to pee.” Agh…CHAR!!!” We love that one! Loved, and I will carry it with me always.
One of Char’s gallery visitors was Bill Hibbard. Some in this neck of the woods will remember him as the travel editor of the Milwaukee Journal for many years. I copied this quote from his obituary: “I try to capture the mood of the place I’m visiting and to present the facts about it without puffery and in as fresh and entertaining a manner as I can.” Bill was retired when we moved next door to his family; we just knew him and his wife Edie as really good neighbors. She and I have plans to walk and talk near the shores of Lake Michigan, and she will tell me stories I never knew about their travels…
Bob’s former secretary, Marliss, lost her battle with cancer shortly after her closest friend Mary died. We all knew each other as employees of P.A. Bergner in Peoria, but our friendship continued long after we moved north. This is some of what Bob wrote to her family: “…an outstanding worker…more importantly, she became a dear friend. It saddens me that Covid prevented us from visiting in person these past few years. But it was always a delight to speak with her on the phone. I will miss her dearly.”
My sweet friend Karen Gaudes, passed away without my knowing until I stopped into the gallery in our neighborhood where she worked. The news stunned me. Karen was the best sales person I ever knew; her genuine love for humankind and her passion for art is what drew me to her. I bought my fare share of items at Atypic Gallery because of her enthusiasm and kindness. Some years ago I walked in the shop, saw her smile and asked if I could capture it with my phone camera. She was shy about my request but relented when I said, “Just wait till you see how awesome you look!” And do you know, she used this photo as her profile pic thereafter! 😌
Finally, we visited our granddog Beamer at Thanksgiving time and said our last goodbyes knowing he would not be with us much longer. But he lived a good long life. Here are Roxy & Ringo dressed up to pay their respects, a moment of silence for their buddy ❤️ And there is “Beamie” on the lookout at Whitewater Lake.
It’s been an emotional 365 days. As we move forward into the New Year, I plan to process it all by working in my studio; this has always been my best therapy.
Bob says, “Smile in 2022!”🎈
Sending peace ~ ~ ~