Sunday, June 26, 2016

WORDS & PAINT . . . A Project Inspires a New Story

In one of this life's incarnations I made my living by my brush. I still have the skills, but my knees are not what they once were.  Still every now and again a project comes my way that I cannot resist.  In this case, an old classmate from high school asked me to rehabilitate something she and her daughter had found in an antique store for the imminent arrival of said daughter's first child.  I was happy to help.

It turned out to be one of those projects that just sparks to life on its own, and I soon found myself talking to the object, a rolling toy box, while I worked on it.  I have to give partial inspiration to William Joyce and his book Ollie's Odyssey for some of this fancy, as well as for the notion of a "code" for toys.

Here is the result, a copy of which was given to the mother-to-be at her baby shower today, when the finished toy box was delivered. ~ Enjoy!


Charlie is Waiting for You
The toy box "before"
by Judith Cullen
© 2016

For Corrie Rydberg

He could remember things, but not very well.  He knew that the antique store was cold.  He knew that for certain.  He could hear the mutterings all around: memories of things worn and now discarded, has-been belongings placed for sale to collectors or people who were not put-off by fading paint or little bits missing here and there.  Of course, there were pristine things there in the chill: snooty glassware sparkling in self-aware stacks, extended families of china shining in the fluorescent light, rare teapots holding court on utilitarian shelves.

He was a toy box with wheels, though it had been so long since he had been purposefully used that all he had were the ghosts of memories.  There had been careful hands that crafted him lovingly out of wood now pleasantly aged.  He remembered the squeal of delight when his first child - what was that child's name? - saw him for the very first time, gleefully filling him with all manner of toys before parading him around the room - pulling him by his horse head handle.  His child had grown, and there had been other children.  He could not recall much beyond the sparkle of playful eyes, the touch of small hands, and the joys of imagination.