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Friday, October 3, 2014

FIVE AND ONE HALF - Chapter 21

Taking a LOT of photos

The weekend arrived, and I planned to do as much preliminary work as possible on Lesley’s portrait.

She said one hour was all she could spare for she, Lottie and the grandparents were going to the zoo, and it would take up most of the day.

I said, “Fine but get your clothes off and let’s get started.”

During the next hour I shot around a hundred photos of her from every angle. It took me three hours to go through them and select the ones I wanted to work with.

Before the day was over I had finally found the look and the pose I wanted.

It was settled, she was to sit at a forty five degree angle with her head slightly down and turned a little to the rear.

They arrived back from the zoo and Lottie had a lot to say about their adventure. She was just beginning to talk coherently and she made sure she had my attention by sitting in my lap.

It looked like we were having some Chinese take out tonight for I had been tied up all day.

As Lottie was rattling on every once in a while she would say something I didn’t or couldn’t understand.

After some time I had to ask Lesley if she understood what Lottie just said and she said, “Sure.”

Then told me what she had said.

I asked her how she could understand that gibberish when I couldn’t.

She answered it’s not gibberish it’s French.

I couldn’t believe that for how could she know a foreign language.

Lesley explained, “I have been teaching her French along with English.”

I said, “I didn’t know you knew French.”

She said, “My best friend in grade school spoke it fluently at home and she taught me. For five years we would speak to each other in French and I had two years of French as my language in junior high.”

“How come I never knew you spoke French?”

“There was no point speaking it to you for you wouldn’t have known what I was saying anyhow.”

“Okay perhaps you can tell me why you’re teaching it to Lottie?”

“It’s for when we go to France to visit my old friend who moved back there.”

She went on telling me that I had better start learning the language or I would be lost when we got there.

I said, “There would have to be a lot of changes before I went to France.”

After I ate my fortune cookie I returned to my study of Lesley’s photos until I was ready to start sketching her on canvas.

On Monday I was called into the office and given the word that the corporation was being sold and that the new owners were from another country.

They also were bringing in their own employees for the upper echelon jobs meaning I would be replaced.

He said I would be getting a large severance which included a large bloc of stock.  He said I would be close to being rich.

Something he didn’t know was I had accumulated many shares of stock while working there and was going to be better off than he knew.

Management from the new company asked that I to be retained for six months to train my replacement and I would be allowed to make my own arraignment with them.

I insisted my salary be doubled and a reasonable bonus at the end of the training period. It was going to take a month to close the deal so I figured I was due a vacation.

When I got home I told Lesley the news and she didn’t seemed to be that disturbed by what happened.

From what she told me I concluded we were going to live in France for a year as soon as my tenure was completed with the company.

As it turned out the men I was tutoring were quick to learn and after three months they wanted to take over and do my job.

Since there was going to be two of them taking my place I figured that between the two of them they could handle it.

Thankfully, I took my final pay and my bonus and said goodbye to this period in my life.

During the three months I finished Lesley’s portrait. Lottie couldn’t understand why mommy didn’t have clothes on. I left it up to Lesley to explain it to her for she was just getting into the “Why stage,” and every answer triggered another why.

When the grandparents found out we were going to be gone for a year… let me just say it didn’t go over very well.

After they settled down Lesley said she had leased a Villa and if all of them wanted to move there with us they could.

They jumped at the chance to live there and to be able to experience living in Europe with all their antiquities.

So it was settled, we were off to our French adventure.

Everyone had a list of how they wanted to spend the months we were going to be there.  Of course the women had all the shops in Paris high on there list.

The grandpas had entertainment on their mind.

Me, I felt obligated to visit the Louvre and gaze at the masters.

While many of the artists who went there wanted to look close at the brush strokes, I wanted to feel what the artist did as he created his master piece. What was he thinking? Was he hungry for many artists were poor? How did the women in their life affect them?

The tour guides had a lot of information about the artist’s lives but one could assume that most of it was made up beyond where they were born and a few other statistics.

There were a lot of would be painters sitting and staring at the paintings with their sketch books. I had my own opinion as to what was important and that was the subject matter.
Understanding why an artist selects the subject tells you much about the artist himself and the depth of color chosen reveals the condition of his psyche at the moment of his work.

In any case I could say I had been there when people asked me if I went to the most famous museums.

I managed to pass some of the time by doing sketches of the people, places, and things; an old man in the park half asleep thinking about his past, a child feeding the swans and the side walk cafes all of which intrigued me.

Lottie spent a lot of time with me and was making her own sketches. I would sometime make a suggestion about her work and she would say something in French which I think meant, “Butt out.”

Even though she was a child, some of her sketching seemed to be like Pablo Picasso’s work and undistinguishable. It allowed the viewer to see what the eyes were telling what the mind it was seeing.

I gathered up some of her work and finally convinced her that she needed to send it to an art dealer in New York and see if there was any interest in her work. After much hesitation she agreed so we shipped her work to the dealer.

When one of her sketches sold and she received a check for it she was ecstatic and set about sketching everything she saw.

Our time in France was coming to an end and we had accomplished everything on our lists.

Lesley was used to dealing with flirts and so when the self- styled Romeos came on to her she could let them down easy but the two grandmas hadn’t experienced such attention. These older women bought young ladies’ clothes and had the full treatment to make them look available.

Lesley had to act as their chaperone and make them stay in line.

To the Gigolos they looked like easy targets and the grannies ate it up. It stimulated some feelings that were beginning to be dormant.

The grandpas were quite attracted by all the young beautiful females walking by the sidewalk cafes.

The combination of what the “Old folks” were experiencing was evidenced by sounds of passion coming from their wing of the Villa at night.

It was like they had discovered the fountain of youth and were drinking their fill.


  To be Continued

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