Thursday, April 13, 2006


I remember playing in the basement I couldn't have been more than four. Listening to the record player, I’d keep turning the tuning dial, trying to decide which way it should be for me to hear the sound as I should.

The walls were 18-inch ceramic tiles in the most amazing Ethnic colors−magenta, cerise, chartreuse−cold and damp against my hand of baby fat. Where had they come from? They made the basement into a mystical cellar. Dark and mysterious. Later, when I was in college, my mother refinished the basement with light wood paneling and the magic was gone.

But when I was four, I played for hours with watercolors. At that age, I never quite understood their appeal. It puzzled me what other kids saw in them. I seemed to always use too much water. The colors would run into each other. The record player I understood. I’d listen to the music play, and turn the dial again, while I watched the colors run. Every picture that I made faded or turned into something else. I painted one thing. It became another. My images were hard to see in the dim, hideaway light.

The music never stopped playing. I never stopped singing along.

Soon enough I’d swirl my brush a last time in the water, run it across the purple paint, and sign my name. I’d carefully clean the brush in the water and dry for tomorrow when, knowing me, I’d try again.

Then I’d turn the music louder, and I’d dance in the soft, afternoon light like the fairies do, until it was time for me to take my nap.

Looking at watercolors then was like looking back now at the days of my life.
−me strauss Letting me be


Amy said...

That's beautiful. I don't think I remember anything from that early on. I have somewhat similar memories, but not from that time...

ME Strauss said...

Hi Amy
Thanks for coming. I'm smiling to think that this brought back memories for you. That's so cool.

I think I remember because I did it so many days in a row. I was determined to figure out the secret of those watercolors.

fineartist said...

And the secrets of life too, I suspect.

Liz I think you have most things figured out...and what I would give to glimpse inside that head of yours. Thanks for giving us a peek with your words.

Okay truthfully I'm going to have to think on this for awhile in order to give a proper response. Right now my granddaughter is here and she wants nana's attention, I think I'll let her paint with watercolors.

Love and stuff, Lori

ME Strauss said...

Hi Lori,
Every response you ever gave has been both a proper and beautiful response. You go play with watercolors and an hope they run into beautiful stories for you.