In Memory of Grandma Jean
August 18, 1928 – July 27, 2011
We made her a scrapbook for her birthday and matted some of her trees.
She would always say, “I’m just doodling.” But to me all her “doodles” are a work of art. They’re unique, like a signature. They are all her.
You could find them doodled on the newspaper, winding their branches through columns and supporting a title. You could find them on the back of receipts in blue ink. You could find them on paper towels as you cleared the table, light pencil markings instead of a spaghetti stain. You could find them on the back of envelopes or unopened mail. You could find them in sketchbooks, upside down, sideways, and every which way. Pencil, ink, markers; all sorts of mediums will do. Mix and match them, doodle some flowers or ducks on them, add a picket fence and an old barn in the background. But they were always trees; bare branched trees reaching to the sky, gnarly trees resting below, skinny trees, fat trees, free-flowing trees. They were always trees… occasionally you would come across one with leaves, but most of the time they were bare branched trees, bare naked trees, skeletal trees, robust old trees, dead trees, skinny trees, trees trees, trees… I remember the lines, lots and lots of lines, engraving the bark into the paper, marking their passage of time.
“I’m just doodling,” she would say.
But I wont find her sitting in her light beige leather recliner anymore; sketchbook propped up on her knees and colored pencils on each end table next to her, and in her chair, and underneath the recliner. They were everywhere. Drawers were filled with colored pencils, markers, pens, crochet hooks, candy for her and the grandkids, and who knows what else in her little art drawers…jewelry, kleenex, a baggie full of change, a pack of saltines, you just never know.
I remember when I was little trying to copy her trees. The side of my palm would have pencil all over it because I would smear it through the whole picture, trying to go back and make it better. It was close, but just not the same. They are as unique as nature makes them, they are one of a kind. They are my grandma.
I love and miss you, Grandma.