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Note - most stories are fictional and do not refer to anyone in particular living or dead. True stories will say they are true!
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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
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
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
“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
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
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
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.