My parents, before they had actually met, at least in this lifetime.
SOMETIMES a painting can be more than a painting.
Newlyweds, 1953. They are here pictured with my maternal grandmother Flora Frye Q’Quinn, one of the truly magnificent human beings I have ever known.
A few months back, Mom shared with me a conversation she’d had with a girlfriend back in her college years, at Meredith College in Raleigh. They’d been having lunch together in the cafeteria when her friend made a spontaneous observation that struck my Mom so that she knew she’d never forget it. And she hasn’t. “Oh, Anne,” her friend had remarked, “I’m just so glad that we met and have become friends, because there is so much you just understand. And if you didn’t…well, I really don’t think it would even be possible to explain.”
New York Apartment P. Crockett (hangs in Miami)
You see: there was Mom and her friend, and now there are my parents and the paintings I have done for them.
Gazebo, Ocean Isle (acrylic on wood) P. Crockett
The background here involves no long story. My parents worked hard and well for many, many years, and are now blessed to be living the life they dreamed of. Dad put in an unimaginable 50+ years at the once-legendary firm of Steel, Hector & Davis, and almost never missed a day even though I’m quite certain that, at times, nothing would have seemed sweeter.
And, although we’d invariably fill in the little box describing Mom as “homemaker” on the endless surveys, forms, etc., required by our various schools, she certainly had no less of a job than he. The big difference, of course, was that Dad could come home at the end of the day, and get away from the %%&*@@**##$ office!)
THEIR “home base” is still the family home in Miami, but they also enjoy spending part of their time in an apartment in New York City, a beach house right on the shore at Ocean Isle, North Carolina, and in a sweet cabin perched high up in the beautiful mountains of that State, near Boone, NC. They move as the spirit leads them, and enjoy being “rooted gypsies” tremendously.
Front Porch ____P. Crockett (Miami, hangs in NYC)
SO at some point a while back, it occurred to me that they might enjoy, more than any other gift I could give them, paintings of their various places to remind them of “another” that they loved, when they were still spending time elsewhere.
Still Life, New York Apartment_____P. Crockett (hangs in Miami)
Homestead. A painting of the only family home I can ever remember, in the Roads section of Miami, which my parents still call “home base.” It hangs in New York.
I have put everything I have into each of them, because that is the best I know how to do. Colors splashed on canvas speak a language more subtle and express, more true than any ever cobbled together out of words. (I realize that rarely can there be any useful “comparison” of languages, as each serves a unique purpose all its own. What strikes me as important is understanding that these complementary languages are at hand, and that we do in fact put them to use. Almost every day. So: if a relationship is breaking down, or a friendship withering, perhaps a failure to remain mindful of the fuller range of avenues for communication available might be part of the reason.)
More than what I have said, I cannot, and I am certain need not, explain. It’s all there, in the paintings.
The Swinging 60′s.
ON December 3rd, Dad turned 80.
He used to be younger. (Center, above, with family.) Among the many astounding points of connection they share is that she did, too!
And then there was Christmas. So I figured the occasion as good an any to especially celebrate. So I did a little painting for them both. My Dad is not a materialistic kind of guy and cares naught for brand labels, prestige or other such gaudy baubles that don’t last. Neither he nor my Mom have ever particularly given a damn what the Jones (or the Garcias, or whomever) are up to, much less exerted the mental energy to contemplate what might be required in keeping up with them, for Christ’s sake!
My paintings are among the only gifts I have ever seen really light up his face, which of course delights me.
This one’s called Howard’s End, and it depicts their beloved piece of the North Carolina Smoky Mountains homesteaded and thoroughly enjoyed by my father’s parents before them, and now in turn named in his remembrance. A suitable choice, for I was privileged to spend a number of idyllic summer weeks with my grandparents there, and I am here to testify that none might ever love this house, or the land surrounding, than did (or does) my Grandfather.
My Grandfather, Howard Bruce Crockett, with my brother Greg ( R) and me, in North Carolina.
It was he who planted the twin poplars on the sloping meadowed lawn out front that now join in shading luxuriantly and from high above the porch where the rocking chairs sit. If the whole place might be seen as a gift, the twin trees planted in gentle consideration of those to come are the icing on the cake.
Thank you for everything, Granddaddy.
And the view can take your breath away! If there is a place more ready to delight at every turn, or a better refuge from Florida’s heat in the summer, I’ve yet to hear about it.
So, here is Howard’s End, with all the love in the world:
So there you have it. It’s kind of personal, this sharing, but I figured nobody would mind.
Mom, Dad, I speak for many when I say, from the heart: you are the greatest. There seem to be a number of us that are more grateful than we can say, to have you around.
Backyard Paradise (Miami Winter) __ P. Crockett _____ (Miami, hangs at the beach, N.C.)
Seen in the background, below