Friday, January 28, 2011

One Memory Leads to Another...

I don't know what made me think of this recently....

Back in the early 80s my studio was a little mauve-colored, calico-wallpapered room right off the kitchen. It was the hub of the house, and from it I could keep tabs on everything. While working there I could supervise my grade-school-aged girls as they sat doing homework at the kitchen table. From its single window I could look out at the swing-set by day and listen to the crickets at night. A lovely room! And one not yet filled with the mountains of print inventory that Mayfaire would one day bring to it.

During that time I did contract work for a large company in Minneapolis that designed products for students, things like workbooks and flashcards and the wonderful stuff that makes school bulletin boards (in my opinion) so inviting. Products my own kids were enjoying in their classrooms. A grade school friend of mine that I'd kept in contact with over the years hooked me up with the job, bless her heart; it was just a lucky turn of events that when the company needed a freelance artist she thought of me.

God bless that company for giving me the opportunity that it did because I couldn't have asked for a more perfect engagement! I'd tuck my girls in at night and then draw until late, creating everything from flashcards to puzzle designs, sometimes working until dawn when I'd wake them for school. Then while I dished their oatmeal and made their lunches, like clockwork a courier would arrive at the door to pick up my work. It was such a fabulous arrangement that a day didn't go by that I didn't pinch myself to make sure it wasn't all just a figment of my imagination.

That same company still exists, only now it has a staff of in-house graphic artists who create its product designs on the computer. And here I am: A pencil-and-paper kinda gal; too 'old school' for this new age. But the job was wonderful while it lasted.

And right about here is where I'd planned to end my post.

Except that during the time I spent proofreading it and making changes, I learned via Chase's Online Calendar of Events that January 27 -- the day this was all to be posted to my blog -- was the 25th anniversary of the day in 1986 that the space shuttle Challenger exploded just 10 miles above the earth, killing its crew members and teacher Christa McAuliffe. And if I have to reduce those Mauve Studio Memories to a single one, this is it.

Like the assassination of JFK, I know where I was and what I was doing when the Challenger met its tragic end: I was sitting at my drawing table designing a Chinese New Year puzzle and living my dream. And on my little minuscule black-and-white television I was watching Christa McAuliffe live hers.

And then she was not.

I still don't know what made me think of that little mauve studio and give me the urge to write about it now, but the fact that its story would post on this day of all days gives me a little shiver. Not to mention it hits me upside the head with the reminder that things can change in a heartbeat, even when you're right in the middle of living your dream.


  1. I remember that day…we were in the Coon Rapids house (must have just moved there) and the news reports interrupted the PBS show "Tripods"

    Funny what we remember

  2. I can still see the close-up of the happy full-of-pride faces of Christa McAuliffe's parents as they watched the launch. And then their looks of confusion.... My whole day stopped right there. So sad.