TWENTY - EIGHT
A Literary & Fine Arts Magazine
Full Value Illustration • Illustration Techniques • Erin Schmid
IMAGES 2014 A L I T E R A RY A N D F I N E A RT S M A G A Z I N E
by the Students and Staff of Monroe County Community College
Front and Back Cover Photographs: Stephanie Pipkin
Sponsored and Published by The Humanities/Social Sciences Division
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This is the twenty-eighth year we have published the creative efforts of our students and staff. We sincerely appreciate the excellent work submitted this year; each entry has received careful consideration. The editors are extremely grateful to Penny Dorcey-Naber, Christopher Butson and Kaitlin Moore and for their invaluable assistance. Without their diligence and skills, there would be no magazine. We are already gathering material for our next issue. If you are a student or member of the staff of Monroe County Community College and would like to have your work included in our next issue, please submit your material to Paul Hedeen or Penny Dorcey-Naber: Ted Vassar Assistant Professor of Art Creative writing may be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org
Produced by Monroe County Community College
© Monroe County Community College 2014 All Rights Reserved
Bezold Effect • 2-D Design • Joe Hawes ii
Ribbon Composition â€˘ Art Fundamentals â€˘ Deborah Overby
CHERRY BLOSSOM RAIN Love, cried the lotus from atop his branch. Sorrow, screamed the man Swallowed by his past. Loss, whispered the leaves dancing In the wind. Hope, giggled the orchids whose joy Would ever brim. Faith, mumbled the cherry blossoms Shaken by the spring. Happiness, dreamed the butterflies Resting on the clothesline string. So many emotions being twisted into one, This is the ideal world, that with which we wish to become.
• Amber Cox
Spider, Spider• Drawing 2 • Allison Presson
Self-Portrait • Illustration Techniques • Erin Schmid
AMÓR She’s so desperate for a lover That she’ll kiss the mouth Of anyone whose reeking breath Simply forms the word “beautiful.” Visions of adoration and acceptance Blind her to the drops of crimson Rolling down his fingertips Like tears. Fresh blood from the hearts He’s gouged out, Blood from the women Too afraid to scream out. He’s a monster— A child’s cartoon in reverse. She’ll peel back his guise of veneration, But only after the damage is done. And as she sits in her brokenness— Her chest stained scarlet— She cannot remember how it felt to be whole How it felt to pump blood through her veins. The emptiness that overwhelms her Will forever plague her mind. Until self-worth fills the holes that bleed, True happiness she will not find.
• Hollie Reynolds
THE PLAYGROUND Momma tied my ribbons in my hair today. “I’m off to the playground!” I say. She kissed my forehead and waved goodbye. I ran down the road to a secret I hide. I rang the doorbell and waited a bit. Then the man came, who let me in to sit. He gives me cookies and lets me nap. He says I’m pretty. I even get to sit on his lap. This is our special time. No one can know. “They don’t get it,” he says, so I don’t tell home. I smile so big and don’t care ‘cause I know he’s right. Parents don’t get ghosts can be nice. He’s what they call a spirit in books, but he’s just my best friend that death took. • Cherie Farley
Spherical Composition • Art Fundamentals • Katherine McDonald 6
Hockey Nut • Illustration Techniques • Diane Billau
FINCHES The dark, glassy lake vomited swells of a thick fog that chilled and canvased the city streets. However dense the fog, it didn’t keep the people who were on the street from seeing and hearing the death of Samuel Lueck. The crushing of his bones seemed to echo off of the tall, skyscraping buildings. It looked like maybe he tried to break his fall, but his arms landed akimbo to his body, legs twisted at an odd angle. It seemed, to some, that he transmogrified into this gross being before he hit the ground, but maybe they just never saw a dead man before. The blood looked like it ripped through the seams of his body, and as it spilled over the cold slabs of cement, the fog donned a pink color around him. From fifty-five stories up, where the roof of his apartment building was located, Samuel was falling. The night was cold as it rushed passed his face. The icy air licked his skin and burned it; he didn’t quite know whether he was afraid or not. He felt his body passing through space, but it was a strange, comfortable feeling: floating. The buildings looked like a blur in his eyes. Being the Art Historian he was, he couldn’t help noticing what the world looked like while falling. Had he had some oil paints and canvas, he would have loved to paint what he saw. The surrounding structures were smeared with dark blue, green, and purple. Flashes of yellow formed what looked like windows, and perhaps the light pinks and hot oranges would have been in the sky. Yes, this scenery would have made such a beautiful painting. Unfortunately, Samuel thought, he would not get the chance to paint it. He was going to die in a matter of seconds. He supposed he had time to think of memories and how it came to be that he was on that roof when the accident occurred. He closed his eyes, and his first memory materialized before him. A wonderful Degas exhibit was being put up in the museum. Brilliant colors danced around the walls, and Samuel could barely keep himself together. Degas was his favorite painter; he wanted to share with his daughter, who was a ballerina, all the paintings that Degas did of dancers. He was the one who organized the exhibit and set it up so that all the art work would be shown in a chronological way. On the day of the exhibit opening, Samuel brought his daughter early to see all the paintings. He wanted her to have a special tour while he had time to spend alone with her. Samuel brought her to stand in front of his favorite painting, his hand resting on her shoulder, smoothing over it encouragingly. “Dad, I like these paintings because they look like me,” she said, her pooling burntumber eyes peering at him. “Of course they look like you because you are a beautiful ballerina! I bet Degas would have painted you!” Delilah stared at the painting. Samuel noticed how her thick dark hair was twisted neatly onto the top of her head and how her petite, feminine characteristics reminded him of his wife, Annabelle. She was taken away due to problems, but Samuel would never tell Delilah that. He did, however, in that moment notice that Delilah looked exactly like his wife, and it caused a chill to cover his skin. “Do you see the man in the painting?” After a beat, “Well that man is in almost all of Degas’ paintings of dancers. I don’t think he is a good man. He always seems to be staring at the girls. It makes me uneasy. Can you see the way he uses cool colors, like blue, to paint him? He does that so the viewer knows he is not a good guy.” “Will he hurt the girls?” Her bell like voice, full of concern bounced off of the walls. “I’m not sure, sweetie.” Delilah did not say much after that. Instead she left her father’s side while he was wildly staring at the picture, and she went to examine the rest of the scenes that Degas painted. Her small frame floated around the room as she looked, and it seemed like she had deep thoughts that occupied her mind. When Samuel’s memory faded, he was much closer to the cement, the hard cold slab of cement that was screaming at him from below. He closed his eyes tightly again.
The ballet room was large and rectangular. It had one wall of windows, which never opened, but the light could still pour through turning the wood floor a bronze yellow when it spilled over the sill. Samuel sat in the area that was designated for parents only. He was in his dark blue, fitted sweater and his favorite jeans. He was the only man who ever attended the lessons; all the women would curve toward him in their seats, turning their diamond rings over, as if he wouldn’t notice they were married. Delilah was dressed in her class clothes, tights, and a small black shirt that hung loosely around her shoulders and stomach. She was sitting on Samuel’s lap. A woman, whom Samuel had been flirting with during the lessons for a few weeks now, approached them with a smile on her face and began a conversation with Samuel. “Hello,” her voice rang. She plopped down in the padded fold chair next to Samuel, looking at him with a slight glint in her eye. Her cheeks were flushed from the wintry Chicago air. Samuel liked the way she smiled, and he became completely involved in their conversation, forgetting the pressure difference on his lap when Delilah left his lap and stalked off to the mirrors to start her stretches. After a while, they were casually joking, and Samuel placed his hand on her arm, encouragingly, smoothing over her skin. When the memory faded from his eyes, Samuel began to feel afraid. The cold wind was still smacking him, burning his skin. He had only a few more moments before his life would be over. Yet, another memory bubbled to his mind. Samuel and Delilah travelled down the fifty-five levels to the street. The cold November air swirled around them as they walked. Just after hurricane Sandy swept the east, leaving in her wake a frenzy of freezing air and what looked like eventually to be rain, a dense fog settled nicely on the streets. They decided they would walk the few blocks, despite the weather, to the ballet studio. They were bundled tightly against the wind. When they began their walk, Samuel looked around at the tall architecture, admiring the way the city was built. In the quiet of his mind, he thought about his daughter, her dark hair swirling and sticking against her face. She had been distant the past few days, since the Degas exhibit. Keeping to herself. Samuel noticed how she didn’t have the desire to hold his hand, and a light rain began to fall on them, wetting their heads and coats. They would need to pick up the pace, so they didn’t get sick. Breaking his thoughts, Delilah asked: “Dad, can you fly?” her small voice didn’t carry far in the wind. It was like the shrill tinkling of bells. “Of course! I am Super-Man!” Samuel, hoping to make his daughter giggle, looked at her lovingly. A moment later, she smiled. When he looked up, he saw what seemed to be hundreds of finches fly by, casting a dark shadow that seemed to fall on Delilah’s face. When the memory broke, he had only a few more moments. This was going to be it. But,why? He thought. Why would this happen? Hadn’t he been a good father? Loved his daughter? Done all he was supposed to do? His final memory was of his daughter and the events that happened before the fall. On the roof of their apartment building, they would huddle close together, with a hot cocoa and a coffee, and look through the telescope. They met there every night. Samuel would point out constellations and planets. It was a tradition they had, a special place they could get away. Only a few moments ago they were there. She said she needed to get some more marshmallows for her hot cocoa. He let her go. He was setting up the telescope. He didn’t even hear her until he turned around and she. . . . Samuel was found dead at 8:43 p.m., having fallen from the roof top of his apartment building. Media would say “plunged.” His daughter stood on the roof, hot cocoa spilled, looking over the ledge, not being able to clearly see the gory scene below. The news of his death travelled fast, and people who knew him whispered about his death saying “they saw it coming” and “the poor girl, Delilah.” − continued on next page
II The police station is cold. Why do they keep it so cold? I bet it is so the prisoners will get frost bite and probably die. That’s what they want. It smells here too. Like really old paper and coffee. Like the museum. That’s how it smells. I hate that museum. They told me that I need to sit in this small room. It doesn’t have anything in it. Just a desk, two chairs, and a wall that is a mirror. They told me I need to answer all of their questions. But the smell. I can’t stand the smell. It’s not like I did anything wrong. I don’t know why they brought me here. It is cold. Just like the roof top. The wind must have gotten me. It chilled my bones. And it’s late. I am too tired to be here. “Delilah, how old are you?” He has a pen in his hand. Coffee, to his right, and he’s taking notes with that pen. He’s scratching little notes. I wonder if they’re about me. He looks at me. He keeps looking at me, and when I don’t say anything, he writes down notes. There is another man here too. He says he is a doctor, though I don’t know what kind. He is taking notes too. They are both nice. The officer thinks that if he is nice to me it will be easy. He has gentle eyes. His eyes aren’t like Samuel’s. “I am ten years old.” “What do you like to do for fun?” He is young. Probably like Samuel. He has brown eyes, like the color of honey, and pine cones. “I’m a dancer; just like my mother was. She was a dancer.” I wonder if he’s impressed. He is writing this stuff down. I don’t know why he is writing so much stuff down; I wonder if he knows about dancing. I should tell him about the— “What did your father do for a living, do you know?” “He worked at the art museum. He recently had a show, about dancers, like me.” The dancers like me were painted by a man named Degas. I remember. That was the day I found out about my father. He took me to see the show early. I remember the smell of the museum. Old paper and coffee. I hate that smell. But the pictures were nice pictures. He took me to see his favorite one, and he told me about the man in all the pictures. “Do you see the man in the painting? Well that man is in almost all of Degas’ paintings of dancers. I don’t think he is a good man. He always seems to be staring at the girls. He does that so the viewer knows he is not a good guy.” That’s what he said to me. He told me about that man. And then I realized. He is that man. My dad is the only man that comes to all the lessons. He stares at us. He told me. He told me he wants to do things to us. That’s why I cannot call him Dad anymore. My real father wouldn’t feel that way. I remember looking at him, from across the exhibit room. His hair was a light brown, blonde in the right light. He has blue eyes. They are clear, like Lake Michigan. They seem evil to me. Too clear. His nose is like mine, sloped, but his is more dipped down at the end. He is tall, and thin, like me. I look like him. Except my hair. My hair is my mother’s. “Did you go to the museum often; did your father seem sad or different?” The police man broke Delilah away from her thoughts. “Yes. But I am mostly at school or the ballet school.” He is still taking notes. I bet he can read my mind. Yes. He probably can. That’s why he is looking at me. Not the way Samuel did, at the ballet class. That’s how I found out he wanted to do those things to me. It was at that class. I will never forget. But the police man does not look at me like that. He is just looking at my thoughts. So, he will know Samuel was a bad man. Like Degas’ painting. We were getting ready for class. Samuel had me on his lap, and we were talking. I was trying to not think of him as the bad man. But all I could do was think of him like that. Then that lady walked over. He talked to her a lot. I wonder if she knew. I remember the way he touched her. It was gentle and trusting. That’s the way he touched me when I was on his lap. I bet my mother knew how he was. That’s why she tried to kill him. He
thought I never knew, but I looked through his things one night. That’s why she went crazy. She knew he would try to hurt me. That is my proof. He wanted to hurt me. He probably wanted to hurt that lady to. But he never did. But she doesn’t live with him. When I walked away, I stared at them from across the room. I had to know for sure. They talked and laughed. I was still staring when the class began. I repeated the motions. 1. 2. 3. 4. 1. 2. 3. 4. They were easy. He kept touching her the way he does to me. His hand on her hand. I think I saw him looking at her the way he does at me. My father is the man in Degas’ painting. “Delilah, is there something you need to tell me?” “No.” He knows. He can read minds. I can’t speak a lot because then I have to breathe in the smell of the paper. Coffee. Just like the museum. I might be sick if I talk too much. “Did your father jump off the building, Delilah? Did he say anything to you?” He is taking notes again. “We walked to my ballet class. Did you know that? Usually we drive, but we walked two days ago.” Maybe that would help him. “And you usually take a cab?” “Yes.” “So maybe something was different?” He keeps asking me if he was sad, or different. He wanted to do things to me. That is sad. And different. I remember that day. That was the day I decided I would scare Samuel somehow. He needed to be scared. Scared so he wouldn’t hurt me. The city looked like a forest, the tall buildings spiraling towards the murky sky, like trees. They bent over us, and we walked through them. The fog from the lake made it scary to walk through, like we would meet someone who would kill us in the fog. Fog blocks your sight, makes you go chilly, and confuses things. I didn’t hold his hand. I didn’t want him to touch me. He would think I wanted him too. I looked at the pavement. The small cracks, like roots on the forest floor, and the small traces of life peering up through them. That’s when it started to rain. I remember that’s when the idea came to me. The rain plinked on me, making my hair stick to my face, but I didn’t want to really hurt him. Just scare him. I remember seeing the birds fly through our forest. “Dad, can you fly?” If he said yes, then I would do it. If he said no, another plan. “Of course! I am Super-Man!” He looked away from me. He said yes. So he can fly. If he hurts me, maybe he will fly away. Like the birds in the forest. “Delilah, what were you doing on the roof-top when your father fell?” The police man seems less patient now. His scrawling letters are scattered across the paper he has. His breath is stained with the hazelnut smell of coffee. The smell of the museum. The smell of Samuel. The police station, as I looked around when they brought me in, was like a cold zoo. People in their cages. Scary people. They had bulging eyes, gold, crooked teeth that hung out of their faces. They looked at me too. Like Samuel. Their eyes watching me. Every move. I bet they wanted me too. “What were you doing on the roof?” he asked me again. “We were watching the stars, like we do every night.” Tonight was the night. He was standing by the ledge, coffee on the small table that we had. He had the telescope. He usually lets me set it up. I told him I needed more marshmallows. He let me go to our apartment. I really needed to think how I would do it. I would surprise him. Scare him. “Delilah. Did you push your father?” The scare would shock him, and he would be scared of me so he would not hurt me ever. He wouldn’t look at me again. I came up behind him, he didn’t hear me coming, and I— “Delilah.”
“I thought he could fly.” • Ashley Raab
Bezold Effect • 2-D Design • Kathy Sorter
PRE-LIT DECORATIVE PALM TREES They stand in the yard beckoning passers-by to discuss Under pretense of celebrating individualism, begging people for attention. Nobody wants to talk about the gaudy, tacky, or awkward. Like the coffee-table book of feet, we do our best to ignore it, but when the wind is right, and the arms are blown down to illuminate the gnome riding a pink flamingo, a casual pace quickens to double-march.
• Pete Faziani
Industrial Syncopation • Watercolor • Ted Vassar
On The Rocks • Illustration Techniques • Erin Schmid
WE HAVE CHEMISTRY I am an enzyme and you are my co-factor. Without you I am the wrong shape. I don’t fit anywhere. I have forgotten my function. I just float around this space bumping into things, Contacting but never connecting. I have a place in me shaped like you. Others try but they don’t fit. They just slip away without effecting change. Only you have a permanent home. Only you can exist here. When you take your place, the world makes sense. I have a purpose. My function has returned. Together we connect and create.
• Melissa Mosser
Circles & Straight Edges • Art Fundamentals • Katherine McDonald
RAW Scared? Scarred... No Scored Two pieces of clay Made to stick Hold fast and true Through the fire Through the pressure To come out whole Seamless and shining Well worked clay Fine ceramic The rest only burn Exploding in the kiln Their smooth perfection Yields to the weakness Of internal flaws While fused fragments form A one-of-a-kind piece. Once only parts Now complete Complimenting Challenging gravity Healing the wounds Bridging the gaps Sealing the fissures A fine work of art We could be
â€˘ Melissa Mosser
Justin T • Illustration Techniques • Tonya Grochowicz
Landscape • Watercolor 1 • Stephanie Enock
SAY THE WORD On the playground they teased you for being friends with a girl, But you didn’t say a word. Your mother blamed me for the chocolate on the ceiling, But I didn’t say a word. I bossed you around and didn’t like to share, But you didn’t say a word. When they joked that we were married, I liked it, But I didn’t say a word. I cried when my parents promised we would still visit, But you didn’t say a word. I realized how much I missed you, But I didn’t say a word. When we met again, I hugged you too long, But you didn’t say a word. I wanted to tell you how I felt, But I didn’t say a word. So much time passed, But you didn’t say a word. I was lonesome, But I didn’t say a word. Life became unbearable for you, But you didn’t say a word. I had so much to say when I tucked my note in next to you, But I didn’t say a word. I wished for you to tell me it wasn’t real, But you didn’t say a word.
• Melissa Mosser
Separation • Painting 1 • Miriam Deal
“Ned! Mern! Come quick! Bonnie’s been hurt!”
Bonita Louise Nedry – Winter 1943 Ned is my dad (from the last name, Nedry; Uncle Ned to all the cousins). Mern is my mother (from Marian; Aunt Mern to the relatives). The child was my little sister, Bonnie, who died long before I ever knew her or knew of her. Mern (it was always Ma to us) had been admitted to the hospital in Lansing in early March 2006 after falling, and the injury on her leg was not healing well. She was eighty-seven years old, and she had lived independently for almost sixteen years after my dad passed away in the one-hundred-year-old clapboard farm house in Central Michigan where she had been born. Following many exhaustive and exhausting tests and examinations, she was moved to a new and well-appointed hospice facility, also in Lansing, to live out her remaining days. My mother would enjoy physical comforts that she had never experienced in her rugged life on the farm. On a chilly Sunday, March 19, 2006, when spring was trying to take over from winter, my wife, Carol, and my two daughters, Tammi (38) and Celeste (34) traveled from the Monroe area to Lansing to see Ma and Gramma in the hospice facility. As Celeste gently stroked Ma’s hand, wrist, and forearm with her fingers, out came an oral history of my mother’s life. When she got to Bonnie, there were tears in the tale. “I know she would be sixty-six now, but to me she will always be the little girl that went running out the side door of the house to get on the farm wagon with her cousins.” This was the last time she saw her daughter in full blossom. Bonnie was having lunch with my Ma and Dad, but she wanted to go play with her cousins—she begged, and they reluctantly said, “Oh, all right.” She rushed out the door with the screen door slamming behind her. The surprise and wonder to me as I looked up at Ma was—this was the first time in my sixty years that I ever recalled my mother speaking of Bonnie as though she had ever been alive! You see, the only thing we siblings knew about our sister Bonnie was that she died or that she was dead. Our mother left the world that we know on April 6, 2006, to join Bonnie in the world that she shared with the angels. That we know, but there was so much that we didn’t know. We knew we had a sister, born 280 days after the nuptials of our parents—well within an acceptable window of gestation as proclaimed by the elder aunts, cum mathematicians, Aunts Johanna and Carrie, who monitored these kinds of things. And we knew that she had died in a farm accident. But we knew little else of our sister. My twin and I set about to find out what we could about our sister, Bonita Louise Nedry, born January 28, 1940.
Brother Mike discovered, when picking his way through the estate treasures and detritus, that there was more of an archival account than we originally contemplated. Among the dusty and tattered cardboard boxes, there was a record of Sister Bonita’s birth, short life, and passing. In Marian’s own hand, there is a poem about
Monday’s child is fair of face; Tuesday’s child is full of grace; Wednesday’s child is loving and giving; Thursday’s child works hard for a living; Friday’s child is full of woe; Saturday’s child has far to go; But the child that’s born on the Sabbath day Is blithe and bonny and good and gay. (She underlined “bonny” in the poem.) Our sister Bonita was born at 4:20 a.m., January 28, 1940—a Sunday. While our parents had little, they apparently had an old Kodak Brownie camera and used it often to document the joy and growth of their new baby in their early life together on the farm.
On what was going to be another hot day with little wind to make the humidity more tolerable on the dirt farm in Central Michigan in August 1943, Ned and Marian were having lunch with Bonnie at the table in the country kitchen of the old farmstead. There was activity outdoors as Ma’s oldest brother, Uncle John, and his three young boys, all under ten, were loading old potatoes from the cellar to be discarded to ready the storage for the current year’s bounty. As the tractor began to pull the heavy wagon away with the load to be hauled to the dump in the woodlot on the back of the property, the boys were playing and cheerfully taunting one another on the large flat surface around the wooden crates of old, shriveled, spoiled, and sprouted potatoes. Bonnie begged Ma and Dad to let her go with the boys, and they eventually relented and said that she could. With her little dress and golden curls seeming to hurry to catch up with her, she pushed open the wooden screen door. It slammed behind her as she bounded down the porch steps and caught up with the wagon as the boys had their dad stop so she could get on the flatbed top with them. The kids laughed and played like young cousins would as the wagon jerked in the ruts and against the ever present rocks on the hard scrabble turf. They kept their balance as
they pushed and shoved one another and stepped around the wooden slatted crates. The potatoes were hauled to the dump in the forty acres of woods, a quarter mile away, on the back of the farm. On the way back to the farm house and cellar, the boys and Bonnie were playing on the wagon, dodging around the now empty crates. How it suddenly happened will forever be a mystery, especially now. I will trust the write-ups in the local papers at the time to be reasonably accurate. Bonnie jumped from the wagon when it neared the house. She fell backward and was run over by one of the rear wheels of the wagon. The wagon had been constructed out of an old milk delivery truck frame, so it was especially heavy. The hot and muggy August day suddenly turned ominous and tragic. The boys hollered to their father that Bonnie had been hurt, and he stopped the tractor. They were now within shouting distance of the house. Uncle John hollered with a sense of urgency and panic, “Ned! Mern! Come quick! Bonnie’s been hurt!” She was alive but severely injured when the large tire and heavy steel wheel crushed her small rib cage, abdomen, and lungs. She was rushed to the local hospital in Edmore, some six miles away. The hurry was as rushed as it could be for the day. The roads were gravel, and the autos were never new models. Once at the hospital’s emergency room, she began to receive care from the same doctor who had delivered her into the arms of her mother some three and one half years earlier, Dr. Myron Becker. The newspapers reported that she died early on Friday morning, August 6, 1943—Uncle John’s birthday. Forever after that day, Uncle John would never have a “happy” birthday. The details of what happened at the hospital after Bonnie took her last breath on this earth are not known. We do not know how my parents reacted to the agony of losing their first born and how they dealt with the unimaginable grief. Only in hindsight and reflection can we feel that the level of heartache and anguish was such that she was never spoken about as having been alive. Some months after the memorial for Ma in 2006, I stopped by to visit Aunt Pat, my mother’s youngest sister, and I inquired of her what could she tell me about my sister? Aunt Pat would have been thirteen and a half at the time of the accident. She had attended the traditional meal served in the basement of the little country church after the funeral for the gathering of grieving family and friends. Ruby Eldred was a relative, but she was also Ma’s friend from childhood. They had attended the country school together through the 8th grade. How deep this friendship was between these two women of the soil would not be known to me until decades later. Ruby, Ma’s second cousin, told Aunt Pat that she needed to be with Marian on the following day, Wash Day Monday. Ruby told her that none of the many people at the funeral would be with Mern tomorrow—on Wash Day Monday, when Marian would have to wash the soiled garments that Bonnie wore when she fell under the pressure of the large wheel and heavy tire that crushed the life from the youngster. And, there were Mern’s own stained clothes that she wore in the car while cradling Bonnie and giving her comfort while she was clinging to life on the way to the hospital. In a tenor that had both caring and commitment in it, she admonished the young Aunt Pat that she would be with Mern on Monday—for wash day. Aunt Pat was so struck with Ruby’s unswayable intention to be with Mern the day after the funeral that she never forgot the conversation. She shared with me that she was ever mindful in her life to think about the aggrieved—the day after the funeral. While it may be a little tardy, I am grateful that she relayed it to me sixty years later. I, too, was moved by this additional homegrown definition of friendship and compassion being provided by one of my own kin.
There are several other photos that my twin had found of Bonnie, but none as moving as the one of Bonnie looking up at the clouds. It appears that sometime later, my mother circled Bonnie’s head with a red pen and drew in some clouds. We don’t know the symbolism associated with those actions, but it appears to be at least foretelling, if not portentous. In Ma’s own hand is a description of what Bonnie was doing.
Bonnie is looking toward the sky. The other two girls are cousins. This was one month before her death. There will be Wash Day Mondays in our own lives and the lives of people we care about. Let us remember them the day after the funeral, the services, or other celebration of life for the loved one who has passed. Ruby taught me that through this oral history. The lesson is available for all of us.
Dr. Patrick J. Nedry February 6, 2014
Flirtation • Illustration Techniques • Abigale Warner
CuDi • Illustration Techniques • John Waterford 24
Skull Graphite • Drawing 1 • Nathan Piechorowski
Skull Acrylic • Painting 1 • Brooke Willer
Skull Graphite • Drawing 1 • Jacob Blankenship
I WANT TO LIVE THE REST OF MY LIFE IN THE BATHROOM Some of my most entertaining and enlightening thoughts come when I’m sitting in the bathroom. Anywhere else and my concentrated solitude is demolished. Even my own room doesn’t offer the same kind of quality of mind as the washroom does; my room is a place of work, sleep, and distractions. If I’m in the bathroom, it is very unlikely that anyone will charge in to ask me where the potato peeler is, or what I think about George Bush, or what I’m doing on Saturday night. It is very unlikely that anyone will talk to me at all. I so enjoy time in the bathroom that sometimes, even if no one else is home, I sit there longer than is needed. No one expects you to do research or to answer their phone calls. It is a space to unwind, to think about nothing at all, a space where we are most ourselves. Bathrooms fertilize self-actualization by giving us an excuse to be separate from the rest of the world, by offering distraction-less solitude, and by holding no expectation of what we should accomplish while we’re there. There is an unspoken cultural agreement germinating in our society that says, “I should have access to you at all times.” I love how bathrooms crush that entitlement in the face with a “No you don’t. I’m pooping.” People understand if you miss a call, don’t answer the door, or pass up a birthday party if you were stuck on the toilet. Thank you, bathrooms. But why should we need an unpleasant bowel movement, or any excuse, in order to take time away from everyone? Why do we frantically search for an excuse or justification when someone asks us to help them with their chemistry homework on our only night off? Isn’t “No” a complete sentence? There is much to be said about taking time away from people—and much to be said about taking time away from things. Bathrooms not only give us an excuse to step away from everyone, but also force us away from our computers (hopefully) and cell phones (usually). Many of us feel an obsessive attachment to our cell-phones, to social media, to constant communication with everyone we know. I’m asking... Is this healthy? Philosopher, Dr. John Piippo, says that many of us have an illusion of indispensability, “People do not need you as much as you think they do.” Here, he quotes Thomas Merton, “The person who shuns solitude ‘no longer acts upon the outside world, but lets it act upon him. He is propelled through life by a series of collisions with outside forces. His is no longer the life of a human being, but the existence of a sentient billiard ball, a being without a purpose and without any deeply valid response to reality.’ ... Merton prophetically described our current world of tweeting and texting personas.” It may not be possible to throw your cell phone in a lake and whistle your merry way along, but for most, making a practice of putting the ringer on silent and disconnecting from the all-accessible cyber-world could be the medicine needed for that cell phone separation anxiety. Just go to the bathroom. One more magical trait of bathrooms is that there is no expectation to produce (much) while you’re there. You can take a big breath and just be. You don’t have to be the corporate manager of your company, to be acceptable in a new group of friends, or to live up to your family’s expectations of you. You are forcefully free of completing your to-do lists and the to-do lists that others have made for you. You are free to think about your life decisions apart from the eyes and opinions of others. You are free to see yourself as you are. In the humble bathroom bubble of solitude comes a realization: Just as I am alone here on this toilet, do I truly live my life. I alone make my decisions.
This realization can be scary; it can bring a heavy weight of a life›s bad decisions. But it can also be brilliant, bringing a joyful exploration of future possibilities. Either way, this solitude presents a life’s reality. It is the sitter’s decision alone what he or she does with that reality. And you thought your stomach was just upset. My proposal is this: We are most ourselves when we are in the bathroom. Bathrooms are like portals to our true beings. The separation from people, from things, and from expectations placed on our lives frees us to see ourselves more simply... if only for a few minutes. In solitude, I am free. Some days, my best time is spent in the bathroom, gazing through the mold collecting between my shower tiles. I guess I could choose to take more time alone elsewhere, couldn’t I? I have found that this freedom only comes when I meet with God in solitude from everything else, sitting and talking with him about life decisions and life in general, as a daughter talking with her dad, or as friends just “being” together. My self-realization comes from feeling completely welcome to be myself with Him, hot mess that I am, and in knowing and experiencing more and more that He loves the hot mess that I am. • Kellie Robinson
I Know Who I Am! • Illustration Techniques • Tonya Grochowicz
Macro Composition • 2-D Design • Patrick Reece
Nine Value Composition • 2-D Design • Stephanie Pipkin
Spotlights • Art Fundamentals • Dan Geiermann
Pully Composition • Art Fundamentals • Deborah Overby
Pulleys • Art Fundamentals • Merrick O’Leary
Macro Design • 2-D Design • Chelsea Delker 30
Numerical Design • 2-D Design • Eric Johnson
CONTRIBUTORS Writers Amber Cox, freshman, Monroe, MI. Cherie Farley, freshman, Monroe, MI. Peter Faziani, Adjunct English Faculty Melissa Mosser, sophomore, Temperance, MI. Dr. Patrick Nedry, Professor of Business at MCCC. Ashley Raab, sophomore, Temperance, MI. Hollie Reynolds, sophomore, Monroe, MI. Kellie Robinson, sophomore, Monroe, MI.
Artists Diane Billau, sophomore, Petersburg, MI. Jacob Blankenship, freshman, Newport, MI. Miriam Deal, freshman, Luna Pier, MI. Chelsea Delker, sophomore, Monroe, MI. Stephanie Enock, freshman, Monroe, MI. Dan Geiermann, sophomore, Newport, MI. Tonya Grochowicz, sophomore, Monroe, MI. Joe Hawes, sophomore, Temperance, MI. Eric Johnson, sophomore, Monroe, MI. Katherine McDonald, sophomore, Monroe, MI. Merrick Oâ€™Leary, freshman, Brownstown, MI. Deborah Overby, freshman, Monroe, MI. Nathan Piechorowski, sophomore, Lambertville, MI. Stephanie Pipkin, sophomore, South Rockwood, MI. Allison Presson, freshman, Monroe, MI. Patrick Reece, freshman, Lambertville, MI. Erin Schmid, sophomore, Monroe, MI. Kathy Sorter, alum, Newport, MI. Ted Vassar, Assistant Professor of Art at MCCC. Abigale Warner, freshman, Monroe, MI. John Waterford, sophomore, Riga, MI. Brooke Willer, sophomore, Maybee, MI. 32