‘Bermuda Insert’ … by GeeGee – Mid 1970’s
Oldest son, Francis Michael had many friends in High School and one in particular had just returned with his family from a vacation in Bermuda … I had no reservations in peering over the boys’ shoulders as pictures, from a bulging envelope, were passed between them.
Then, one came up that filled my eyes, “Wait, wait, can I see that one?” The boat was the most attractive and appealing vessel (other than any fishing boats docked at a Portland, Maine wharf) that I’d ever seen … “What is it called?”
“I don’t know. My parents bought from a Bermudian street artist that makes a living selling his paintings to tourists.”
“Would your mother consider loaning me this picture so I can do a painting of it?”
I telephoned her and she was pleased to loan me the actual painting! I was beside myself with excitement and anticipation and barely could wait until my husband got home from work to drive me to her home.
Weeks later, I returned her painting and showed her my finished work that she liked better than the original because the colors in the boat were more vibrant.
That sweet, trusting woman will never be forgotten - “Thank you, dear lady, thank you”.
‘Perish The Thought’ by GeeGee – 1979
At the time I painted this dear-to-my-heart couple, I was a V.I.S.T.A. (Volunteers in Service to America) involved with the poor of Portland, Maine and in other areas of the State. I helped organize the poor for welfare and housing rights, for day-care, for training in pursuit of better jobs and legal representation in the affairs of politics and business as it effected the poor and low-scale blue collar workers. Human and Civil Rights were our prime concern … The poor and the Blacks, our focus but mostly the poor as they had little to no voice whereas the Blacks had NAACP and we’d be in partnership with them and morally supported by the Jewish Community, one of many that began to recognize and respect our efforts. A new dawn was breaking just over the gray horizon and voices, once prejudiciously muted, were raised in concert and their numbers grew and the bodies of these freed sounds marched with posters to the beat of drums and there was singing and unity for rights that had long been manipulated in a language dipped in maple-syrupy falsehoods.
“God Almighty, we will be free someday – all of us that have been held back by color and poverty would forever hold our heads high on stronger necks from firmer shoulders built-up with our struggles.”
At an New England Conference in Boston where representatives from low-income and blue-collar groups, NAACP, agencies, state offices and committees, city departments, churches, Lettuce pickers, inner-city Federal housing tenants, and so many more that I fail to recall, I ended my prepared speech with a poem I had written for the occasion called:
Perish The Thought ...
Perish the thought
That I should want
Human rights and well-being
Tied into a knot,
Perish the thought!
Done and undone
What is and is not
I remember their games
Their names, I forgot ...
If truth be impotent
Untie me please
And perish the thought ...