Often, when I'm alone, I find myself reminiscing about my childhood. I drift back into what it was for me, a simpler time, and then I grab my pencil and paper and get busy. Seldom do I know what will manifest itself on paper I just draw.
There is an African proverb, which states, "It takes a village to raise a child." Although I was raised a city boy, my parents grew up in Mason, Tennessee and Gulfport, Mississippi. In my neighborhood most of the people I came in contact with had migrated to Cleveland from the south. In that sense, Cleveland was "the village" spoken of in the proverb and in my experience; truer words have never been spoken. Most of the people in the community felt that they had a stake in the upbringing of younger generations. Whether it was Old Joe who always asked me for a nickel so he could purchase his shorty of Wild Irish Rose Wine, the insurance executive, Calvin Jones, who always wore a suit to work or the hard working George Gage whose neatly manicured lawn served as an inspiration to other homeowners, my path was clear. I was going to get out of life what I put into it, or as they say, "you reap what you sow."
In those days, the good ol' days, even the lowliest among us could have doctors and nurses visit their homes to administer medical treatment. There were a plethora of role models to observe, from doctors, lawyers, insurance executives, military veterans, artists, writers, teachers, clergy, barbers, and a variety of other entrepreneurs. Like other neighborhoods there was also a sprinkling of ne'er do wells like, "White Al" (a black man who could pass for white...) the East side Numbers King...and the larger than life "Taneli, a tall sharply dressed black man, who always wore a bright red fez and was accompanied by a bevy of beauties for hire. All of these influences in my "village" helped to forge the person I am today.
No matter what background you come from I hope the situations depicted in the "Good Ol' Days" will strike a chord with you.
Medium: originals in pencil.
Reproduced in sepia tones.
Size: 10" x 13"
Sale: $75/ signed prints