Monday, June 19, 2017

Linda Holden

What I remember most about Linda Holden: the decorator, the whimsical shop owner, the B&B hostess, and the mistress of the Post Office, was her unique sense of style for herself, for her businesses, and for her many design projects.

For instance, I once visited a restaurant she had worked on and was surprised to find a very dark color scheme. I hadn’t encountered that before, but that was me in the 80s.

She may have incorporated black tile in a restroom but she had her limits. When she discovered an artist had painted burning bones in the fireplace of the room she had to decorate for the Festival of Trees she turned the offending bones around and went on with her own plans to build a Colony-era d├ęcor around her very own Olof Krans painting.

Linda did things her way. Usually. When asked on one Lucia Nights to turn off the red-hot-chili-pepper shaped lights hanging in the PO’s front window—she did. She grumbled about the Lucia police, but she turned them off. I think deep down Bishop Hill always came first for her. It was more than just caring about how things looked, she cared about how well things were going with the village.

My only problem with Linda came when she found what was probably an old enameled metal sign from the 60s. It read: NO HIPPIES ALLOWED. (Or something to that effect.) She put it in the PO’s front window, and I had to stare at it every time I passed by. One day it occurred to me that if a person covered up the “IE” with a letter O, then “HIPPIES” would turn into HIPPOS. I spent weeks trying to figure out how I could do it without getting caught. For all I knew it was a Federal offense to tamper with anything inside a PO, so I didn’t want to leave fingerprints behind either. I thought about the sleight of hand needed. I thought about such things as timing and diversions. I thought about enlisting the aid of co-conspirators. In the end, I didn’t do anything. 

Now, I add the story to all the things I remember about Linda Holden.

Linda Holden
Dec. 21, 1944—May 30, 2017

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday, June 2, 2017

Funny Business

I love comics. Especially the ones found in newspapers like the Moline Dispatch & Rock Island Argus. I always start my day with the comic section. When the newspapers decided to redesign that section and asked for reader input I didn’t delay. I made sure I got my votes in for: Rhymes With Orange, Tundra, and Dilbert.

I went so far as to supplement my vote with copies of 2 of my all-time favorite strips. Of course, they were related to writing. The first panel from a Tundra strip showed a film director instructing his crew on the importance of conflict in making a good story. This was done while smacking a bear in the head. (Tundra features a lot of bears.) The second panel showed the stunned bear losing his freshly-caught salmon with a headline declaring the director would soon get what he asked for.

My second clipping was from a Rhymes With Orange strip that had a woman trying to chosen between 2 slices of pizza. One slice had sausage or something typical. The other had “little bits of truth.” She, who had to be a writer at heart, chose wisely.

This love of comics brings me to one I discovered on this last Memorial Day. It was a Rhymes With Orange that held meaning for the writer in me and for Suzanne Dietsch, one of my Bishop Hill friends who has made a name for herself by making Sailor’s Valentines out of sea shells.

I took a photo, but to be in line with the rule about only using excerpts in reviews and such, I’m only showing the section that Suzy would like the most. The side panel holds the title: Shell-collecting: The Sickness. Now, I haven’t seen Suzy’s new house, so I don’t know how large her shell collection has grown. But judging by the amazingly three-dimensional, award-winning designs she creates—it must be impressively HUGE.

And of course, the writer/author in me likes this image, too. Especially since a neighbor was asking about how to go about posting a review on Amazon. While she watched, I stepped through the process online. I had to do that because I couldn’t find the blog post I’d written for another reader. I found it later. (“Ten Steps to Review on Amazon,” Oct. 21, 2016.)

I like comics for a lot of reasons: for myself, for friends, and for family. But most of all it is discovering how those artists can find so many ways to portray the essential elements of life and the important truths we all share.