Here I am on my great-grandma's lap, I'm about 7 or 8, so that would be 1971, it is Easter, I am wearing my trademark blue stretchy comfy headband and my all-time favorite dress which was brown and purple flowered calico, with a lace up purple velvet waistband and the smocked/embroidered white puffy sleeves. I swear I would wear that dress right now if there was one in my size. Look at how glossy my hair is, and how genuinely happy I look (I really was).
Great grandma is holding me and her glass of wine and we are sitting in my grandmother's chair in her corner of the grand living room of my grandparent's house on Mountain Boulevard in Oakland. I still have dreams about this house, it was huge and so nice, there were so many rooms to explore, and most of all the garden was magical to me. I don't remember her as well as the house, not sure why that is, visits with great-grandma were rare, at least in my memory. And to be honest, I'm not sure if this is Great-grandma Briggs or Stark. Oops. I wish I had a picture of Grandma Stark holding me on her lap, since she was the one I really remember, but she was always cooking in the kitchen when there was a big family gathering at her house. It was much more fun to visit with just my immediate family and get the grandparents more to myself.
This photo shows the corner where the fabric and yarn basket were, and the paper dolls that I liked cut out of McCall's magazine (was it Betsy something?). I used to hang out here while Grandma would be sewing in her chair and listening to the A's on the radio. She had to explain a lot of baseball to me before I could follow it well enough. I do believe I formed a lot of my artistic self in this very spot. I would lie on the carpet and soak in all the beautiful colors and textures in that room and feel very safe and loved and lucky. I felt lucky because I was at that time becoming aware of the many other children in the world who weren't. I remember looking at the newspapers and trying to make sense of the war pictures, and asking about it, and getting very unsatisfactory answers.