I have been thinking a lot lately about what inspires me and what people, places and things have influenced me throughout my life. First and foremost, my family has been a huge inspiration and influence. My parents have always been supportive. They have exposed me to new places, ideas, point of views, people and experiences. We’re not a Disney family. We never went to Disney World/Land. And I love that about us. We were a Looney Toons family in more was than one. When we went on family vacations we did museums and antique stores and the occasional pow wow. Never once did I feel like we had learning vacations, but I did learn things. I learned a lot of things. One of the big things I learned was respect. I learned to respect history, where I came from and most importantly, other people.
My family exposed me to history, nature and the arts. Both of which are huge influences on me. I remember my parents taking me to see Bill Cosby when I was around 10. That’s huge! Bill Cosby is a comedy legend. I don’t think you could find a family that laughs as much as we do. My mom’s biggest fear was that I would grow up and become a comedian. I haven’t… yet. Every year we do a family trip. We went to Lake Tahoe for a long weekend once and I dragged them to the Ponderosa Ranch, which is sadly, no longer in existence. They’ll be visiting me a few weeks and one of the things we’ll be doing is the King Tut exhibit. That’s pretty cool, if you ask me.
I remember being a kid and going to camp (Grandma and Grandpa Beauregard’s summer home) in Minerva, NY. We’d go hiking and swimming canoeing with Grandpa. I also remember Grandpa taking us on hike that led to an old blast furnace. Grandpa would also take us to the swamp and watch the beavers build a dam for what seemed like hours. But even when we were little we knew not a whole lot of people could say they actually watched a beaver build a dam in the wild. Grandpa was never without his camera. I can’t tell you how many photos there are of all of us at the holidays, stuffing our faces. Grandpa even had a dark room in the basement of their house. After he passed away there were boxes and boxes of his photos. And they are some of my favorite keepsakes. In the winter, when Grandpa was back at the house in the “city” he would paint from the photos he took over the summer. And when he wasn’t doing that, he would be building canoes and guide boats from the plans he got at the Adirondack Museum. And if I’m not mistaken, we donated some of his boats to the museum to be used in their displays.
While he was taking photos, painting and building, Grandma would be baking or sewing. Grandma could make a mean pie and an ever better doughnut. And when she wasn’t doing that, she was quilting. She was a hand quilter… sewing machines were for wimps! I think all of us older grandkids have a quilt made for us by Grandma.
My other Grandma was an incredibly knitter and crocheter. We all had hand knit aran sweaters of patterns of her own design. I still wear the last one she made me. I was fortunate enough to have had her show me how to knit. She never got to see my fancy lace knitting, but I know she would be proud. I also use her sewing machine when I’m sewing my sachets, clothes and any other crazy sewing project I get into my head to do.
As far as artists that have inspired me, well that will have to want until another day because it’s late and I’m tired. Good night, sweet dreams, and as my parents used to say to me, don’t let the bed bugs bite!