Things I Couldn't Hold Onto

Things that have disappeared.
Things I couldn't hold onto.
Thoughts that have been going around in my brain. 
When I was about seven, my Nana gave me a dollar. A dollar! These were the early 80's, hard times. Reagan was president. Things seemed scary and unsure, even at that age. I remember my mom winning the lottery and coming home with more grocery bags than I had ever seen before. Both of my parents worked multiple jobs. I knew that money was hard to come by and that it should be saved or spent well. At the same time, I was seven. 
My mom's friend picked my sister and I up from school. She took us to a small corner store in Quincy, Massachusetts. I picked out an orange soda in a glass bottle and handed over my dollar. It was pre-twist off the cap days and I decided to wait until we got back to my mom's friend's house to open it.

I'll never forget what happened next. I opened the door of her car and climbed out. As I did, the bottle slipped from my hands and shattered into pieces on the concrete. I was inconsolable. "My Nana will be disappointed as would my parents!" 
As it turns out, they weren't disappointed, but that thought was embedded into my brain. It's been almost forty years since that happened and I still remember how I felt when that bottle fell from my hands. My body of work, "Things I Couldn't Hold Onto," will be about those feelings and memories.

Supplies used:

Journal I made using a discarded, hardcover book with 100 lb Accent Opaque card stock size 9 1/2 x 13" 

Acrylics: Holbein, Sennelier, Utrecht, Charvin and Golden (heavy body)

Painting knives


Princeton Catalyst Tools


Looked at:

Edvard Munch


Edvard Munch: Behind The Scream by Sue Prideaux 


Adriane said…
What a poignant memory.

I have a similar one, but in a different context, though. (I imagine we all must.)

It must have been 1970 or 1971. I had a windmill piggy bank - it was red plastic with the moving fan portion in a bright yellow.

My dad emptied his pocket of coins into it and I remember how excited I was at it getting heavier and heavier.

One day I decided to take all the money out of it and go to the corner store to buy some candy. I probably treated my friends to some too.

I came home, triumphant, at having the liberty of spending the money the way I wanted to - and promptly got into trouble by my mother.

My father never put any more coins in my windmill. I remember getting rid of it at some point, as a useless object.

I'm pretty sure this experience somehow crystallized the way I relate to money. It's an interesting thought to explore.

Around that time I had also asked for an Easy Bake oven. My mother refused to get one for me, but I got appendicitis that year, and my ask for undergoing the traumatic experience of the operation was an Easy Bake Oven.

I got it, and for the first little while, when the little cake mixes that came with it were at my disposal, I loved making things in it. Then the mixes ran out, and my mother refused to buy any more of them. I'm not sure whether the rationale was that they were too expensive for "junk" food. She never made cakes from mixes herself; it was always homemade stuff from scratch.

So I resorted to rolling up slices of white bread into little balls and toasting them in the oven. Much less fun or delightful eating than a miniature cake.

I hung on to that thing for a long while. It represented something important to me... but also a sort of disappointment. I got what I had asked for but never got to use it to its full potential.

I'd been told all my life by my mother and my cousin (her nephew) that I was a spoiled child, and that she had taken extra efforts to make sure that I wouldn't be.

In many ways her efforts did spoil me, not in the way that she had intended, perhaps, but they spoiled the potential of what I could become before I ever even determined what that might be.

While the outcome and its aftermath is something that I have the power to change (and have been working to do so over decades) and I realize that her intentions were ultimately what she thought of as something beneficial, I chafe at the way my life might have been different had those seminal experiences not happened the way they did.
Nicole H. said…
Love the painting and the story, and my smart ass self is thinking, well, if you’d just bought a candy bar like a normal kid!
Anonymous said…
I love it all Kelly! The story, they progress pictures, the painting and the words. So amazing the direction you are moving in...I am sure so many memories packed into all that paint and hiding behind the bottle. Really lovely!
Pam from Mpls.
Unknown said…
Forgot to add I especially love, love, love that turquoise line down the side of the bottle! Pam

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