EMMA’S DILEMMA’S 1

Emma best

SAY HELLO TO EMMA: THE SUPER CHICKEN. Look at that sweet face and strong presence. What’s not to love?

Before I write this story an apology is due to all of the great bloggers, family, and friends who were loyal to this effort and who I left hanging for so long. To call it a writer’s block would be foolish so here is the truth: I had some health problems that took away the energy necessary for any creative work. The worst of this was the anxiety and depression that followed the physical pain. It is true that your best work only emerges when you are healthy and happy. The fear that I would never again create to that level was paralyzing!

Even as I write this I cannot assure you that there will be another story. No details, but please know that I am so grateful for all of your blogs and your attention to mine. All of your comments have been saved and I will answer each and every one in time. Being a part of this community has opened up a whole new world that I never dreamed of entering and because of you I can do more than just paint a pleasing picture.

Chapter twelve of  I PROMISED YOU CONTINUED is too emotionally charged for now but I will make every effort to write it for you in the future. For the present Emma’s story is something easier to tackle but not without drama because her life in some ways parallels my own and has been at once challenging, tragic, and joyful. Yes, it’s about a chicken and I will write it in chapters because it’s a long story that I hope you will enjoy.

EMMA’S DILEMMA’S

Who doesn’t like chickens? Well, I guess some uptight folks! I always thought that they were attractive, resourceful, and fun to watch. So when my kids flew the nest I determined to raise a backyard flock of four. My home sits in the middle of twelve acres surrounded by natural forest and teaming with wildlife so I knew that protecting them from becoming chicken dinner was job one. A secure movable coop and run seemed ideal because they would have tons of pecking room and it could be moved to a new spot every few days. Free range most of the day would have suited me even better but I couldn’t just languish outside keeping an eye on them.

First: where to find someone to build their home. Online coops were mostly too small and large ones were outrageously expensive. Craig’s List! I found a farmer’s son who had started a small business building mobile chicken houses. He did not disclose that mine would be his inaugural effort! The price was right and he delivered it about one week later. Whoop’s, no wheels as agreed just a pull rope tied on the front. Now, we are talking about a six-foot guy who could pass for Conan the Barbarian. He easily demonstrated how to pull about two hundred pounds of wood across the lawn and stated that he couldn’t figure out how to attach the wheels!

chicken coop mail

                   Is this the lamest chicken coop you have ever seen? Depressing! I even had to buy a roosting bar. See the rope that I was supposed to pull? It would have to do for now.

Oh well, I was still excited and sat to work figuring out how to move it without a resulting hernia. Finally I noticed that the roosting bar could be placed right through the middle of the cage and extended a good two feet on either side. Flash! I could do this by lifting one side of the bar  and then the other, crisscrossing the grass until it arrive in a fresh place. Success! Now I was ready to find my chickens.

Art class in my studio was the next day providing a captive audience for my search. One of them was friends with a bird enthusiast who had hundreds of  free range chickens and other foul on a sort of bird preserve. Eccentric he was – in a good way -and agreed to sell me four happy girls. No roosters! Thanks. Although he assured me that the hens would not be happy without one. I didn’t buy it! Besides roosters drive you and your neighbors nuts. I had my pick of many breeds but choose four of the same reasoning that they would live together with a minimum of stress.

Three were red with some white feathers and one was red with a few black feathers on her tail.This one I named Emma and I knew that she was special from the start. She was a big beautiful girl who right away took her place as head chicken. They were all about five months old and started laying eggs right away. I could tell them apart so names were quickly established.  Well, after a few days of observation. All were sweet docile animals following Emma around the yard. However the pecking order did emerge: Emma, Joanna, Harriet, and Billy Jo respectively according to size and (ahem) intelligence.

Emma was not merely the head chicken; she was the mother chicken herding all the rest with gentle firmness. They were never far away from her and copied her erect still posture whenever a threat was suspected. Chickens seem to have the idea that if they stand perfectly still big birds overhead cannot see them. They could be right! I know some human mothers who could take lessons from Emma. The roosting order was thus: Emma and Joanne slept together on one side of the nesting boxes while Harriet and Billy Jo took the opposite side. All was at peace – at least for now. In my ignorance of safe houses all did not stay well!

Look for Emma’s Dilemma’s 2 soon. Peace and love to all!                         

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS MY BLOGGING FRIENDS !

This is my favorite Christmas Eve in the den of my home.

Christmas in the den 1

CHRISTMAS EVE

Christmas in the den 2CHRISTMAS MORNING 

                                     

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=STK7AZ_Zs_E&vq=large Isn’t it just amazing what creative humans can do! Watch this video and it will lift you spirits.

I am off to my daughter’s home in Virginia for the holidays  but will be back blogging when I come home.

I hope that you will all be safe and happy wherever you are!

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ARTZENT’S YOU TUBE VIDEO

Some time ago I was an I-Reporter for CNN News where I met this really talented friend who was also a contributor. She had been on my site and admired the artwork. She asked if she could produce this video and I was thrilled when she showed it to me. Her name is Sharon Akaina and she has produced over one hundred of these tributes. The work shown here is just a tiny sample but so artfully put together that I thought you might like to see it. Turn your sound up!

You never know who you are going to meet on-line but sometimes it’s a wonderful friend who is so giving that it restores your faith in humanity. Thank you Sharon; you are a video guru and a wonderful talented friend!

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I PROMISED YOU continued eleven

TAMMY'S DAUGHTERS IN HANDS

TAMMY’S DAUGHTER’S IN HAND

Oil on canvas 30 x 40 inches by June Pauline Zent

PLEASE READ THE STORY OF ” I PROMISED YOU CONTINUED” THROUGH ALL ELEVEN CHAPTERS BY SCROLLING TO THE BOTTOM AFTER SELECTING FROM THE HEADER OR THE DROP DOWN MENU  LOWER RIGHT  

This is an old photograph of an oil painting of mine commissioned by Tammy that I had taken and someone spilled liquid on. I did my best to clean it up in Photoshop but the colors and details are so altered there wasn’t a lot that I could do to restore it. I thought that you might like to see it anyway.

Time moved like an endless summer while I finished Tammy’s commissioned portrait and tried to keep thoughts about Buddy from taking over and affecting my focus. I wanted this canvas to be sunny and happy; one that Tammy would view daily with a feeling of pride that matched her devotion as a mother. From the top left to the right: Gwen, Jackie, then Tina, and Tammila Georgette. Tammy’s hands are holding the bouquet.

Gwen had her mom’s calm determined steadfastness while Jackie was shy with all of her mother’s sweetness and vulnerability. Tammy said more than once that Tina  was the most like her and that’s why they locked horns so often. Tina also played the guitar and was a tiny bit mischievous, a trait that I saw in Tammy when she shared stories about her life. George Jones adopted the three older girls but Georgette, as she was called was his natural daughter with Tammy. She was a little extroverted attention loving bomb who loved to show me her latest acrobatic moves while I photographed her. I say was because I have not seen these girls in many years. I do hope that they are all well and happy. Of course you know that Tammy died and I still have an unfinished portrait of her that I cannot bring myself to complete.

In those days I actually used film in the camara and must have used five 36 frame roles during several visits. I talked with them while filming aiming to bring out their personalities. It took time but eventually they relaxed and showed me who they were.

Tammy wanted me to have it framed before she viewed it so I took the piece to a local framer. After hearing who the subjects were he wanted to place it in the display window for a week. Flattered, I agreed. The road by the shop was separated by a railroad track running parallel with a second road on the other side. It must have been at least 300 feet away when viewed from the second road but I could see it clearly from there. The work was huge with four full size portraits, hands and flowers. Little did I know that Tammy had also driven down that road and seen it too. she said later that it looked very familiar but she didn’t make the connection until I brought it to her.

“Oh my goodness June, it’s wonderful!” reaching out her arms for it.” I saw it , I saw it in the framers window and it has been on my mind since then; now I know why”. I believe one of her girls has it now or it might be in the Wynette museum in Nashville. When she was alive I made several trips to her Nashville home to bring commissioned artwork. She was always gracious and appreciative. Whenever I would call from Jupiter or before delivering a piece a thick Southern accented voice would answer. “who is this” I would say and hear, “Coookey” It never failed to crack me up. Of course she meant Cookie, she was the cook. On one visit Tammy took me to a room that she called The Zent Room. On the walls were all of the prints beautifully framed  that I had given her and several commissioned originals not hanging in other areas of the home. It took my breath away!

She said ” Come on, lets talk” and the first question was had I heard from Buddy. I knew that we shared that love in common but I suspected that he was treating her like he did yours truly. She believed the rumors about him and Sally Fields were true but said, ” June, she’s too young for him”. I didn’t speak but thought, ” Maybe, but she has more fame and money: good for his career”. We gossiped about each others lives, exchanged stories, laughed a lot, and had a good time. Not once did she mention The Mike Douglas show and her part in it. I kept silent because  I wasn’t sure about the reason or even if she had been told the real reason. I believe that the truth would come out in time. I told her about the house that I was negotiating to buy and she described more artwork that she wanted to commission. My sense of her was that she was a true , sincere friend who valued the artwork as much as she valued our friendship. Besides we had great fun together and we both needed that in our lives.

Learn how the truth does come out in the next continuing twelve where I hope to see you here!

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HAPPY DAY AFTER TURKEY DAY!

 

WILD OSCEOLA TURKEY

An original colored pencil drawing on linen board by June Pauline Zent

Sorry folks to be a day late wishing my blogging community a very happy Thanksgiving Day but I was deep into cooking in the kitchen and when everyone went home I just collapsed.

The drawing above was an entry into the annual Wild Turkey Stamp contest held each year by the State of Florida, US. This drawing is of  the elusive Wild Osceola Turkey that roams the native forest and is darn hard to hunt. He/She is able to out smart the hunters but not the destruction of their habitat, hence endangered and only hunted on certain days with a stamp. This image did not win the contest but I thought you might like to see what beautiful birds they are.

I do wish you all a wonderful day after holiday and if you are like me the day after is the best of the two! 

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TO ALL WHO FOLLOW MY BLOG

ARTIST OF PARADISE GARDENS

An original oil on canvas by June Pauline Zent 40×46 inches.

Prints available click here 

http://artzent.dyndns.org/?p=226

I thought that you might enjoy this kind of unusual painting. There is a long story about it that I have not gotten out of draft and will post later.

As people in the restaurant business say “I am in the weeds”! Right now I have commitments that I must honor and cannot wriggle out of so my blog has to give up time. I will be back with you before long and please know that I miss your contact very much.

If you like this original you will enjoy the new print that we are making in sizes that you can afford. They are the same high quality archival giclee prints as the large Limited Editions just smaller and open edition.

CLICK BELOW FOR PRINTS

http://artzent.dyndns.org/?p=226

HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK!

June

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I PROMISED YOU continued ten

WHERE THE HEART IS

PRINT AVAILABLE CLICK    

http://www.artzent.com/?p=716

              

An original oil painting on canvas 30 x 40 inches by June Pauline Zent

The attorney’s reaction to my news kept nagging at me.Why was he not excited and happy about something that could launch my art career to a wider audience? If his mission was to promote my artwork this should have seemed like a wonderful turn of events. And why in our meetings was he only interested in my previous and current relationship with Buddy?

The next morning I tuned into the Mike Douglas Show  again.There was Tammy Wynette and Mike talking about their dinner at her beach house and her career as The First Lady of Country Music. It was a duplicate of the previous show except that there was no mention of the painting that he had glowingly complimented the day before. Gone was his invitation to have me on his show soon, even though they had spent at least five minutes praising the artwork.My name was not even mentioned. It was as if it had never happened;like a perfect duplicate otherwise.

It began to sink in.Was I just paranoid or was this show intended to replace the first one? Could it be that Buddy, Tammy, and Mike had given very expensive air time to someone unauthorized by the powerful network station and as a result were at risk of legal action? Could Buddy’s attorney friend have convinced them to air a cover up show? These thoughts ran through my mind like a slow-moving freight train but not because of lost opportunity. Buddy and Tammy were my friends and I would be horrified if they were at risk because of me!

I had Buddy’s private number at the Jupiter ranch but he was in California. His habit was to call me. I made the effort to get the number but with no success. All that I could do was wait. I wanted to explain that I understood and that nothing had changed to affect my feelings for him or Tammy. Day after day I waited becoming more anxious as time went on. Finally I had to face it. This mistake was so important that he was willing to ignore everything that we had together. Maybe Bobby Collins was the motivator but remember the promise that we swore to keep: he would not believe anything that was said about me until we talked and I would reciprocate. I hit bottom: now convinced that my suspicions about the show were true and that he would sacrifice everything for the sake of not being at risk. Maybe protecting Mike and Tammy was the impetus. It didn’t matter. He wouldn’t  call and we could not talk.

Time didn’t take the pain away. I was heart-broken and felt used and tossed aside like a faded flower of no use to anyone. I needed to be alone so the children’s father came and took them to Virginia for several weeks. I convinced him that I needed to focus on the portrait of Tammy and her girls which was half-true. The huge canvas sat on an easel in the only big window waiting with only a rough sketch. But I had no intention of working on it . I needed to grieve. Contrary to popular belief artist do not create their best when they are emotionally distraught, at least the kind of work I strive to create.

I am a lightweight when it comes to booze. More than two beers results in dizziness,vomiting, and falling asleep. I do like beer however and regularly drink one in the evening after a long day. So because it put me to sleep, as soon as the kids were gone I stocked up, closed the blinds where the canvas sat and drank two beers. It worked! The pattern became two beers, falling asleep, waking up, and two beers again. As soon as I would wake everything would come screaming back. Sorry to say I was not courageous: I couldn’t take the anguish!

This continued for over a week but finally one day I woke up and said, “I miss my kids!” They were wonderful children. All were doing well in school except for Billy but I also missed the focus of dealing with his autism. I missed the smell of them when we hugged. I even missed washing their cloths in the bathtub and hanging them on the line outside to dry. Who knew I could miss that chore!

I opened the blinds, dragged out the paints from the closet and set to work on Tammy”s portrait. The kids came home and the work progressed. My mind turned away from the grief at least most of the time. Tammy called about the portrait which was near completion and then another call came in. It was Buddy’s attorney wanting me to come in for another appointment. He was the last one I wanted to see but I agreed thinking that I might get some answers to questions that haunted me like a ghost and were never completely off my mind.

I had a plan. Buddy’s address in California was something that I could still use. I sent him a mailgram with a return confirmation giving him my new phone number as promised. Then I told Mr. Collins that I was moving away and would no longer be available. He said, ” You mean that even Burt will not know where you are at?”

                                                   

Mailgram sent to Burt Reynolds. My married name was then Watson. I later took my maiden name Zent

I replied,” Oh no, Buddy will always know where I am and I will keep the promise I made to never disappear again at least not from him. I assumed that he would relay this to Buddy but that is not the way it worked out as you will see in the next continued eleven. Hope to see you here!

Posted in Original artwork by June Pauline Zent, The Story of I Promised You, True Stories About Artwork, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

MUST ALL TRADITIONS BE FOSSILIZED ?

State of Florida Crawfish Saltwater Fishing Stamp and  print 1994/1995  by  June Pauline Zent

This is the official print and stamp produced by The Department of Environmental Protection, State of Florida. The remarke in the lower left is a small original of a Seahorse added at customer request.

The purpose of this post is not to pat myself on the back for winning this contest; it is to tell you the story behind the story and why I think it is important to preserve traditions that allow people to be directly evolved through creative effort.They also invite the public to participate, celebrate, and preserve this shared effort.

For many years the State of Florida held an annual contest inviting artist to submit designs for the Crawfish and Snook stamps.The stamps were purchased and placed on licences allowing people to fish for the two endangered species. The contest resembled the State Duck Stamp designs and was a coveted award to win. Five qualified judges were selected to cast votes on the designs then 250 limited edition prints were produced for sale to the public as well as the official stamp. Numbers 1-50 were awarded to the first place winners to sale or keep as they saw fit.Winners were also invited to purchase the matching numbered stamps to complete their 50 very elaborate archival, signed and numbered packages. An impressive envelope with pictures and information about the artist was included. The originals were submitted without signature out of fairness so I had to make an appointment to sign my drawing and 200 prints wearing white gloves. I was so nervous that, as you can see on the print, the signature is wavy.

                                                       

    Back of envelope provided by The Department of  Environmental Protection, State of Florida.

                    

I was living in a tiny single wide trailer in a not so good area of Tallahassee, Florida and working as a seamstress  in a local sport shirt factory. My autistic son had been accepted in a residential program in Georgia and for the first time in twenty-two years I was alone without the focus of being a caregiver. Three other children were still in college at the Florida State University and the two older ones were making their way through life as adults. I had originals and prints sitting idle because the energy to establish myself as an artist in a new area was beyond even thinking about.

On weekends I sat drawing with colored pencils and wondering what was going to happen to me. My mind was still into taking care of Billy, in addition I knew that my health was failing. The only days when depression did not cover me was the every other Sunday trip to Georgia to visit my son and take him on an outing. The sewing factory saved me on weekdays because I had to concentrate on sewing buttonholes on  a thousand shirts passing over my desk each day. Finally I was forced to go to Social Services: yes charity to be able to see a doctor who quizzed me about my employment. He discovered that I was allergic to formaldehyde in the fabric passing over the desk in my face. Knowing the cause of health problems was a relief but I could not quit the only source of income.

The contest was announced on TV. I mused about how winning would allow me to leave the factory and start establishing myself as an artist locally. Even though it was dreamsville I spent the next month working on a small drawing of the Crawfish, better known as the Spiney Lobster. The size was dictated because it had to be resolved down to a stamp. I researched this animal and refered to photos I had taken as Chief lab assistant in college.

The work was submitted and I more or less forgot about it sinking further into depression and ill-health. Then one day I came home to hear the answer machine sitting on the floor beeping. I squatted down and clicked. The voice said, ” This message is for June Zent. Ms. Zent I am calling to congratulate you as the first place winner of the Crawfish Stamp Design for The State of Florida.” There was more but I heard it later because I slumped down on the floor in a heap crying from alternating disbelief and jubilation.

It was my ticket out of pain and I knew that the same night because a call of congratulation came in from a lawyer in South Florida. He wanted four prints with a remarke of my choice and numbers matching the dates of his children’s birthdays.He collected them each year as investments for his kids. The order totaled 1,200.oo and their were more! Of course I quit the factory, went for more help from the doctor,and bask in the glow of the publicity . Long story shorter: I landed a job teaching art, started showing my work, and entering more contest.

                                                       

You might ask what this story has to do with tradition. Well, the very last contest was the following year . After that the beautiful stamps consisted of a written line on the licence that was computer generated. No more contest for artist. Gone were the gorgeous pictures on stamps and prints for collectors. Gone too was the money that had been generated via the sales used for protection of these endangered species. Who decided to turn this tradition into an automated bureaucracy, and for what : expediency, laziness, or a callous disregard for the people who connect with each other through participation in this tradition? It has been fossilized and it will not be dug up like bones for science.

You can cite many other traditions that have been or are in the process of being stamped out. Will traditions be regulated to stories told of the past? I think that they bond people together and enhance the quality of life provided that hate is not their mission. Do you have a story to share about a lost tradition? I would love to read it. Thank goodness for story tellers!

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I PROMISED YOU continued nine

WISH YOU WERE HERE

PRINTS AVAILABLE CLICK

http://artzent.dyndns.org/?p=766

An original colored pencil on linen board 22 x 30 inches  by June Pauline Zent

This drawing features my youngest daughter Adieren Roark. The setting is Helen, Georgia, USA. The river runs right through the center of the town.It is  very picturesque and made to resemble an old German village. If you get a chance it is worth a visit.

Before he left for California he said, ” Promise me that you will not believe anything that you read or anything that is said about me until we talk and I tell you that it is the truth. I will do the same for you; that way no one can come between us.” I promised but he did not keep this vow. We talked about when the movie was finished he would come home and we would take a vacation together. He had bought a house in California which bothered me. He said,” It’s just a house, my home is in Jupiter.” We talked about building a home together in the future and he told me about an exciting dream involving me that he had the night before. I said; “You must have a very good imagination.” He laughed, ” I do honey, I do.”

It was a record cold winter in South Florida. We actually had freezing temperatures for over a week. It was strange to see ice sickles hanging from palm trees. He worried about the electricity failing and kept calling. I reassured him that I had gone out and bought more blankets and we would be fine. I said,” You are busy and you don’t need to worry about us.” That angered him and he raised his voice. ” I want to worry about you, thank you very much! Don’t tell me not to worry.”

The cold passed, February arrived and we were approaching Valentine’s Day. Naturally I had nothing to give him except the second drawing of Mike and Gen’s hands so I mailed it to California. I had previously hinted that I wanted another little silver football to hang around my neck on a chain like when we were ” going steady” as kids. He didn’t take the hint, instead he called early Valentine’s Day morning and asked if I watched The Mike Douglas Show. Of course I usually did. He said, “Watch it this morning” So I tuned in the channel and waited.

It started out as usual but then Mike announced that Tammy Wynette would be today’s guest. When she entered the set he asked her questions about her beach home in Jupiter and talked about having dinner there recently. Then he mentioned her huge fireplace and a painting hanging over the mantel referring to it as the ” most touching piece of artwork” that he had ever seen.” My God! he was talking about They Walked Together and went on to explain that Burt Reynolds had given it to her for Christmas. I very nearly passed out when he spoke about me: giving my name and stating that I would be a guest on his show very soon.

Just the idea that Buddy would do this for me was overwhelming and so exciting that when he called to get my reaction I stuttered trying to talk. But a short time later another call from Buddy’s attorney friend Bobby Collins was disturbing. He wanted to make another appointment to discuss plans for management of my artwork. I was still so excited that I blurted out how thrilled I was with Buddy’s Valentine’s gift. “You mean Mike and Tammy talked about your artwork on the show? Did he mention your name?” He was obviously shocked and speechless for a few seconds when I said, ” Not just that , he is going to have me as a guest on his show!”

I was a little uneasy at his reaction expecting him to offer congratulations but he said again, “He actually gave your name and an invitation for you to be on the show? ” Yes, yes, and isn’t it exciting? I am so thrilled that Buddy has done this for me!” At that point he had to take another call not mentioning the appointment that he had talked about. But I was to learn later why his reaction was only shock.

I will tell you all about it in continuing Ten. Hope to see you here!

Posted in Original artwork by June Pauline Zent, The Story of I Promised You, True Stories About Artwork, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

ALMOST FALL

ALMOST  FALL

An original oil painting on canvas by June Pauline Zent 30×40 inches

Here is a small offering to nudge you into the season. This is what a part of my land looks like when the foliage starts to turn about this time of year. The stream is spring fed and crystal clear deep in the woods and the air is 80+ instead of 100+ I love to walk back here and listen to the water running over the rocks and squirrels rustling through the leaves fussing at the intruder.

An enterprising neighbor approached me about a year into my ownership and offered to help me keep illegal hunters and fishermen off the land. He had “connections” like a son-in-law who was a trooper and just putting a sign up would be a sufficient warning. The sign went up but strangely with his name on it. It made me uneasy but he was just trying to help a single five foot high female neighbor manage her land. Right”

Wrong! while passing the entrance to that side of the twelve acres one day I noticed two trucks in the right of way. I went on a little excursion through the trees which were marked with red flags until I came upon two men crouched with their guns and camouflage blinds who were so busted!

We had an enlightening discussion about what they were doing and just whose land they were hunting on. Turns out that it was the benevolent neighbor and his friend who thought they had permission to hunt without permission. We got that straightened out and I am sure that he will never forgive me! Later other neighbors said that he had conned them the same way. Truthfully I do not understand why people will buy land and then clear-cut it of all the beautiful trees then look around for woods to hunt on. I regard myself as steward of this land and no one will shoot anything on it. Wait, maybe a  Cotton Mouth Moccasin  coming at me in the pond!

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A SPECIAL SISTER BOND

Carol Marlene Zent left, June Pauline Zent right, photo

A SPECIAL SISTER BOND

SISTER HUGS

An original pencil drawing on linen board 22×28 inches by June Pauline Zent

 This drawing features my daughters Holly and Addie but while I was working on it I thought about my own sister and the special bond between us. We lost our mother when she was eight and I was seven and our father had left long before she died. Her life was incredibly hard because she had to work two jobs to make a living and she was not able to have us live with her. 

She paid the local children’s home in Green Acres, Florida to care for two girls who were then three and two years old.I can only imagine the emotional pain of being separated from your children although she came to visit and to take us out of that hell hole every chance that she got. She never knew the horrors that we were subjected to because we were afraid to tell her. We knew that we had to go back every time she took us out.

But that’s the subject of another post. This one is about the incredibly close bond that was formed between us. Truthfully she looked after me as only a devoted sister could. She was always at my side trying to keep her impulsive sister out of trouble. ” Watch out he’s coming! or Don’t say that , you will get your head pushed down under water in that dark concrete sink.” Wherever I was she was not far behind.

On my first day of school she was already in the second grade which were both housed in the same room. I wanted to sit with her but the teacher had other plans.I began to cry and was warned to stop. “Sob”. I was rewarded with a spanking on my first day of school! However, I also learned to write my name on the same day. That began my long romance with the pencil, the visual arts, and the power of words.

We sang duets in church and we were good. Music and poetry was the legacy our mother left us. She sang the harmony and I the melody. We both only had to hear a song once before recalling every word and melody. Singing songs in my head and I am sure in hers was the way to face horrable events. When family came to tell us that our mother had died she sobbed uncontrollably. I was mute. My head could only hold one thought, “We are leaving this place.” For years I hated myself for this reaction but who would not be thrilled to leave this house of horrors. Besides I did not believe or know what death meant.

Even when I saw her lowered into the ground I did not accept that she was gone. She was so beautiful and alive looking. Later I pretended that she had run away and was the movie star Frances Langford. She looked like our mother and had the same first name. We both spent many hours viewing her movies in the local theater.

There were many more hard times to come but through it all my sister was my rock and still is. I owe her many apologies; like her comic book collection that I smuggled out of the house and gave away. If she had them now she would be a millionaire! I am sorry for all of the clothes I sneaked out and changed into that were hers and forbidden. She should have punched me for the many transgressions like the time I punched her because someone lied about my status and said that she told them. I should have trusted her and not some nameless girl who was out to make trouble. There is a deep apology owed for holding her in a scissors grip around her stomach almost cracking her ribs when we were wrestling. Oh, there were so many, many wrongs that I regret.

But there were also special happy times like singing I’ve been Working on the Railroad and other hits? that we belted out while in the kitchen making the dish washing go faster. The lemonade stands were a favorite. We staged dress up theater productions for neighborhood kids and played elaborate classic games like Kick the Can and Hide and Go Seek. Not just the traditional versions, we covered several city blocks with ten kids scattered hiding.

I should mention that my sister was perfection itself: always exactly dressed and groomed, punctual to a fault, a figure that made local boys swoon and me envy, and top-notch grades in school. I was a frequent embarrassment who wore jeans exclusively until the teen years, played football with the boys, skipped school, and was always late for important events. The family liked to describe me thus: ” June is funny” and they didn’t mean funny ha ha; they meant funny strange. I defended myself with my fist not nails, in other words a tomboy. How did she put up with me?

Through all of this non conformity she stood beside me and only scolded in private. Woe be unto anyone who said an ugly word about her; they would be forever on my s… list. We were orphans except for our grandparents where we were finally given a real home. We bonded together from the beginning weathering every storm as one.

For most of our adult years we have lived apart in distance but not in heart. That bond has grown stronger over the years. Each knows when the other has problems even over the miles. It’s usual for her to call and say, “Okay, what’s the matter?” and I have the same message reception with her. In some ways I believe a sister’s bond and love is the strongest of all and can only be broken by the death of both. So here’s to my wonderful sister; I will love you always!

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ADDIE HAS A BIRTHDAY

ADDIE AND SISSIE

An original soft pastel painting by June Pauline Zent 24×30 inches

Today is my youngest daughter’s birthday. Her proper name is Adieren, pronounced a-dear-un. This name came about because when she was born it was her father’s turn to name the baby. He wanted to name her Adelaide and call her Ad but I vetoed that! He later said that he looked up a better name that was German: Adieren which meant dear one. I was a sucker for this kind of sentiment and she was tiny: under five pounds. The doctor said, “she is little but she sure is strong.” I quickly agreed. Later when Addie was in college she studied German and informed me that her name in the dictionary meant: to ad on. Just like her father! We never fought about anything, he would just go underground and get his way regardless. He passed away in 1985 so I couldn’t come after him but I would have and this would be our first fight! 

By this time I loved the name anyway and today I am filled with gratitude and sweet memories of her. she met and married her fly boy Navy Commander and they have lived away from me ever since with only an occasional visit. Of all my six kids I always thought she would live near me and if Bill was not such a great guy I would wish that she did. But when you are in the Navy you go wherever they send you and she is wonderful in her devotion to him and their two girls.

But I remember the tiny reddish blond curls flying in the breeze as she sailed down the hill on her bike. I remember the floppy hat on top of those curls and the pins, buttons, and writing on it. I remember the miss matched outfits she insisted on wearing and the trails in the woods that she and her sister Holly made and played Robinhood. I remember her and Sissy running through the snow, then warming up in the house only to run again. I remember her as the official chicken egg hunter when the hens had the audacity to lay eggs in the bushes. She named them Miss Priss Pot, Miss Chicken Hen, and other names that I have forgotten. I remember when the kids on the school bus tried to take her lunch money she held up her first two fingers in a V shape and said, “How would you like to have this up your nose?” I remember all of the help that she gave me with Billy without being asked.

She was a fearless, smart and strong adventurer. Still is, and if she was here right now I would wrap her in my arms and tell her how lucky I feel that she is my daughter. Instead I can only say I hope that she has a wonderful day with her sister who traveled by train to be with her on this special day. Have fun and be careful. I love you both always.

Mom

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FRED THE HAMSTER IN HAND

FRED THE HAMSTER IN HAND

An original soft pastel painting on linen board by June Pauline Zent 24×30 inches.

He looks like he is praying, right? Not so at all he was just waiting for my daughter Holly to open her hand a bit then he would be gone like a deer over a fence. Fred was Holly’s pet. Most kids want a dog or a cat, Not Holly she had control issues: she wanted Fred the hamster because he was little, fuzzy, cute, and she could restrain him in her hand without worry regarding his human flesh biting tendencies. This was a kid that would run screaming like she was on fire if she saw a spider. Her younger sister had to hold her hand and guide her through the dark to the bathroom. Nighttime was just one more thing that she couldn’t get a grip on and control. Addie, the guide and adventurer called her the ultimately feminine sister. 

Unlike most kids Holly took her charge seriously and would come home from school every day to clean the cage and give Fred food and water. She talked to him like a baby and sat watching him for hours sometimes taking him out of the cage and carrying him about the house. Fred  sniffed the air, wriggled his nose and tolerated this jail time. Being off his wheel was not within his comfort zone.

He did escape Holly’s grip occasionally and would run under, over, around,and inside of everything . A olympian would have been proud to have those legs which had spent hours and hours running endlessly on his wheel. He was as slippery a brown eel too. You thought you had him and shoot!; there he goes again under the couch.

He was a personality to contend with and contributed many laughs not to mention exercise for the whole family. Notice that I have used the past tense here. Yes, Fred is dead. Holly woke up one morning and there he was stiff as a brown whisk broom, feet in the air , and glassy-eyed. She cried and cried then we gave him a proper funeral and burial in the front yard.

I offered to buy her another hamster but she said there would never be a hamster like Fred. So gathering my pictures of Holly and Fred I composed the painting above. There is nothing like art to keep a memory alive and remind us of the important events in life. Holly is a grown woman now, She is a Certified Public Accountant with many achievements to her name. But she still comes out to my house in the woods holding something over her head so that the evil spiders wont get her!

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I PROMISED YOU continued eight

CAT DANCING AND DANCING

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An original oil painting by June Pauline Zent 18×24 inches. This painting features Burt Reynolds famous horse: Cat Dancing and her new-born Philly: Dancing.  It was requested by Burt Reynolds and commissioned by Tammy Wynette as gift to him. I decided to make the background the Jupiter Inlet because it was one of his favorite places. The painting faces the West where his ranch was located.

The next call from Buddy came from the set of a movie in California. ” I couldn’t come to see you; it would have been too hard to leave. But I will call often and I have left you in good hands.” His name was Bobby Collins: a lawyer in fort Lauderdale  who was a long time friend.Buddy told a story about often visiting his friend’s home where a portrait of Bobby and his wife hung  predominately  He said that the work was so bad that the standing  joke was for Buddy to remove the piece and hide it in a closet as soon as he entered without a word. I laughed. Then he asked me to replace it with one painted by me sometime in the future.

” He will help you market your artwork, help with your divorce, and his wife is a social worker so she will advise  you about programs for Billy. I understood why he had left without a word and was grateful for all of his help. I also missed him terribly from that moment on. I called Mr. Collins making an appointment for the next week. He wanted me to bring a painting of a new-born bird sitting in a hand that Buddy had seen in my little apartment and all newspaper clippings of stories done about my artwork.

At the appointment this man was not interested in anything except my relationship with Buddy. I was given the third degree about our childhood together and what our connection was now. I avoided his prying questions and left leaving a large packet of artist’s history along with advertisements about my work. My only thought was: This man was one of the vultures surrounding the man who I loved and feeding off of his celebrity.

The next call from Buddy was in a hurried and excited voice. “Cat Dancing has given birth just now and it’s a filly. Grab your camara and get over there NOW!” They were waiting with the gate opened.Remember this was the horse that had tried to ram me on an earlier visit so I approached the corral very cautiously. There was  a huge barn in the middle with hay and water and they were both standing still looking at me. The baby was a miniature of her mother with the same haughty look in her eyes. Cat Dancing snorted and pawed the ground, then she pushed her baby inside the correll out of sight.

Opening the gate gingerly I scooted inside and immediately sat down on the ground.I wanted to show the new mother that I was humble and meaning no evil intent. About fifteen minutes later she emerged and walked to about five feet in front of me. I was getting prepared to climb the fence or run before getting mashed but she abruptly turned and walked back with her baby tagging along behind. WHEW! I have great respect for mothers of any kind and would not anger one in a heartbeat, especially one where I am only as tall as the bottom of her belly!

But the baby was naïve and full of curiosity. she kept coming out and walking right up to me where I could have reached out and touched her. Again I expected to be trampled on but Cat Dancing just watched from a distance. I clicked away with the greatest pictures of the little one now named Dancing  but I wanted to snap some shots of them together. So I carefully stood up and moved slowly toward the correll. That darn horse knew what I wanted and scooted the baby into the shadows every time I got near.

Finally she let up a bit and I got enough good shots to study for a painting. The result is the oil painting above which Tammy Wynette purchased as a gift for Buddy. We had become quite good friends by then and she also wanted a portrait painted of her four girls. That was my next project and it turned out to take all of my will to complete as you will see in the next Continuing nine where I hope to see you here with me.

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COMMANDER ROARK’S HIBISCUS

COMMANDER  ROARK’S  HIBISCUS

An original oil painting by June Pauline Zent 22×30 inches on archival linen board

Several photos of this flower were sent to me from Italy taken by my Son in law who retired from the Navy after 20 years of service as  Lt. Commander William Roark. I named the flower after him as a tribute. He was a helicopter pilot for the Navy and was stationed in Italy for several years. He was also stationed in Japan and he and my oldest son gave me the opportunity to visit both countries. He now pilots jets in Afghanistan for a private company.

This is my rendition of the Italian Hibiscus which fascinated me because of the brilliant colors. I have never seen one like this in the United States. It has been shown several times in art competitions and has won one award.I wish that I had this flower in my garden but the Hibiscus I own are either deep red or pink. If you have seen one like this please let me know

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