The mail brought a new piece of artwork sent by a grandchild as her way of including us in her celebration of Halloween.
My refrigerator magnets have done their share to help display the many photographs and drawings given us by grandchildren over the years. However, the front of the refrigerator is no longer used for that purpose. We were getting so many pictures we considered fridge-worthy, we had to change our course of action.
I look back and wonder if we ever brought any artwork home when I was in grade school. I certainly don't remember ever seeing any of it hanging up either at home or at the homes of our grandparents.
Our ice box and later our refrigerator doors were not used as bulletin boards. I suppose if mother saved anything we brought home it was put into a folder and eventually tossed. But I am sure I never drew, colored or painted anything I would have wanted to preserve.
Art class, in my twelve-year-old mind, was something to put up with rather than enjoy.
The only memory about that class that has stuck with me is the day we were given the assignment of drawing a scene with a house in it. There were only seven in my class and six of the pictures were similar. All six showed a white house surrounded by green grass and fields with a bright sun shining in the sky.
The seventh picture drawn and colored by our classmate, Wayne, had a pink house with black trim and mountains in the background.
It looked so beautiful it made me hope a day would come when I would live in just such a house. That is one dream I no longer hold dear. The mountains, maybe, but that's it.
My lack of talent and enthusiasm in the art department did not pass along to my grandchildren. They are always willing to sit down with paper, pen and/or markers to create a greeting card or a picture.
Several of them have prevailed upon me to write a story that they can illustrate. They are thrilled when I write the story using their names and those of their friends. My stories are based very loosely on some incident in their lives.
For instance, Charlie loves to practice hitting home runs with a baseball bat but using tennis balls. He is not allowed to go into the street to retrieve any balls. I based his story on that, but in the story he does go into the street and bad things happen. I print the story leaving lots of white space for the drawings.
That is when my appreciation for art got a boost. I wait with eager anticipation every time I send one of the stories to them, impatient to see their pictured interpretation of the words I have written.
But I digress. I take you back to our solution to the overcrowded refrigerator door. The children's Grandpa rigged up an artline in our garage. Never heard of that? It is similar to a clothesline, assuming you still remember what that was.
My former farmer found the twine string he relied on in the old days was perfect for this new job. It is strung across a long wall beneath rows of shelves where it is not bothered much by wind when the doors are open. Each contribution is now secured onto the line with a paper clip. As the line fills we will remove the oldest or put new creations over the old.
The three-year-old's rather lopsided rendition of her birthday cake earns just as much space as does a 10-year-old fledgling architect's detailed and carefully measured drawing of the church his family attends.
Our garage walls needed brightening. Now every time we drive into the garage we are greeted by this special one-of-a-kind art gallery.