PoDunk, Hillbilly Discovers Herself (me)!
(Left to Right; My cute Sis. Auntie. PoDunk Hillbilly Girl (me).)
Imagine. Me, 16 years old. Po-dunk, hillbilly girl from Poplar Bluff, Missouri.
My dad (30 year, world gallivanting embassy Marine) had sophistication.
But me? NONE. So, 16 years old, attending my Crazy Artist Auntie’s wedding in the big-city-bright-lights San Fran-(F-k-ing)-cisco.
Aunt Jean? Exotic and elegnant in her enormous wedding hat. (Wedding HAT?) Surrounded by freaky hair people, happy people, even gay people (!!!!!!!), eating things like ‘oysters’ and ‘endive.’ (We didn’t have gay people ((um, eyah. I know.)….), or oysters, or endive in MO! Folks talking about the academia of color. The Symphony. Socialism. Debussy. (Endive? WTF?)
In the hotel, I flirted with a 30 something year old French man (clearly a pedophile). Bought my first tapestry jacket (with giant shoulder pads!!! it was the 80’s!!!) at Niemen Marcus with my babysitting money. Ate chocolate that wasn’t Hershey’s (WTF?). (Disclaimer: “!!!!!’s” and “(‘)’s” indicate thought process of a 16 year old hillbilly girl in San Francisco for the first time!)
I was hooked. I HAD to be an ARTIST. A CITY girl.
The above adorable, talented, sexy, fun, sassy figurative Artist Aunt returned today to San Francisco after visiting me for a 6 week art-making sabbatical in Santa Fe. Sigh.’ Sharing studio space with a loved one so knowledgeable, and skilled? ‘Sigh.’ I miss her already. (And the plane hasn’t yet departed….)
Now, after 13 years in NYC, 6 in LA, 8 in Seattle, I’m cozying into a stunning half-life of a portrait artist in Santa Fe, New Mexico. And I got to bring my fabulous Auntie here, to paint for 6 weeks.
Payback time. She helped me discover myself.
I pray I now get to help her discover new parts of her beautiful self.
Come back Jean Oppermann! (The rest of you, check her website…)