Tub O’ Soda, 10″ x 10″ Oil on gessobord
Original page from Michne Camping Log, 1971
My father kept our camping log all the years we camped. This page has the story of the day I won the “floating mattress!”
It was July 16, 1971. The perfect summer day as I recall. My father was hosting the annual work picnic. I won a green raft that day for my athletic ability in the egg race! It was my biggest claim to fame as a 9 year old. I remember reaching into a tub of iced cold soda with what seemed like every variety ever invented. It was sheer heaven- all the FREE SODA I could drink! Pull the ring tab- wear it on your finger for a bit before carelessly dropping it somewhere in the grass. Take that long first sip…..ahhhhhhhhhh. Life was good.
Who’s Thirsty? 10″ x 10″ Oil on Gessobord
We didn’t have water bottles- there was no sippy box, pouch or fancy energy drink. If you were outside playing, and you were thirsty, you would simply turn on the spigot, bend down a bit, wait for about 10 seconds until the cold water reached the end of the hose, then take a long, long gulp swallowing, swallowing and swallowing. Of course, you would then offer the hose to the next sweaty, out of breath neighborhood friend. If you were on your game that day, you might remember to turn off the hose. Or, your father might step in huge puddle and yell out ” Who left the dam hose on?”
(Mr. Harvey’s) Suntea
Mr. Harvey was my 5th grade teacher at Skano Elementary. He was the best. We made sawdust puppets, paper mache bowls and something using the wish bones from chicken bones. At the time, during the early 70’s, he was definitely ahead of the curve on “student engagement”. I remember outside our classroom, he had this mysterious jar with the most beautiful colors. He poured us all a cup in a little Dixie paper cup (after he added mint!). What teacher does this??? Every summer, I try to recreate the taste of that tea. After 40+ years, I think I nailed it! Here’s the recipe: Put 8 or so tea bags in a glass jar, add water. Next add peaches, strawberries, an orange slice and a bit of lemon. Let it seep all day. Add a teaspoon or two of real sugar, add ice cubes with a sprig of mint, and there you go, Mr. Harvey’s Suntea!
What is it about the Martini that reeks of class? Fancy glass? Olives in a drink? I would love to sit down with Geotge Peppard (Breakfast at Tiffanys) and enjoy just one Marini. It’s a flirty drink- you would never make one for yourself and sit on your couch drinking it. I can just imagine the music spewing out of the restaurants in the sidewalks of Saratoga, say in 1965. How great would it be to have just one Martini sitting on that sidewalk?
Note: Not even one Martini was consumed for this painting.
Underneath the deck at 10 Evergreen was magical. All you needed was a spoon and a Matchbox and before you knew it, an entire town was created! My brothers were experts at sneaking spoons out of the house. Spoons made the best roads, and let’s admit it, they did the work of the backhoe and bulldozer! The sand was great under the deck-perfect for easy construction. Of course, there were a few boulders (pebbles), rivers (rain dripping through the slots) and the the occasional heat blast (the dryer vent), but overcoming those obstacles is what made the pastime exciting.
Life Preserver, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
There was no avoiding it. At some point during the summer, you would be tied into an orange life preserver. If you were lucky, it had dried from the previous wearing. You would put your arms out wide while your parent would strap you in and make it as tight as they could. Then, with your chin to the sky, they would tie it around your neck. It may have saved you from drowning, but I always felt suffocated! And the smell! They always had an aroma of sweat, Coppertone and mildew. But I’d give anything to smell that again!
PS. I was on a quest to find a life jacket for this painting. I did find one on eBay in it’s original wrapper, from Sunny’s Surplus from 1960 for $2.99. Hanging with honor in my camp!
Catch, 6″ x 6″ Daily Painting
Playing catch was a neighborhood pastime. If you went out by yourself with your glove and ball, sooner or later, someone would show up and want to play. You might ring a doorbell to see if someone wanted to come out, but you would never call. Eventually, there would be enough kids for a game! They would rang in size, age and sex…it didn’t matter, anyone could play on the team. I remember just standing in a grass field and smelling the glove waiting for my chance to show my stuff. All it would take is one catch. One catch. And that was as good as it gets.