Telling Stories on the Love Boat by "Smurfette"
One day last year, about a month before my dad died, I told him, "Dad, I'm sorry you're hurting." he said, "Everybody is. It can't be helped". Even in his illness, he was a great and honest man.
My dad, Jim Wehe, was a mechanical engineer who loved-loved-loved new people and new stories. He collected both. I think he spent his 86 years collecting and sharing people, stories, and knowledge. Having met a new person and gotten their story, years later, he would delight in retelling it with just the right comedic timing. An interesting part of my dad’s own story happened when my family moved from Baton Rouge to Dallas in 1968. He bought a little thirteen foot sailboat - a Lone Star 13 - and at the age of 40 taught himself, and later his youngest son, the art and science of sailing. It's a science because: wind, angles, water, ropes, etc.; It's an art because... well... wind, angles, water, ropes! He knew the ropes and he knew the knots. At play and also at work, he studied and learned all the rules. He set an example of industry, exactitude, and integrity for my brother, his fellow sailors, all of his co-workers, and especially his family. My dad kept these precise practices of an engineer all his life, but if you asked him during his last months what his favorite thing was, he would answer with one word, the least rule-bound thing in his world: "Daisy".
My mother Daisy was not precise. She was a colorful Southern Belle born in Dixie, Georgia. She was the consummate hostess, and she loved to drink coffee and talk with friends. She was a nurse and a devoted wife to my father, whose habits and beliefs were hard to know. My mom just loved all people. All of her life, she gave all of herself to anyone who needed anything. She was a helper. If you needed help, she was there. If you needed a cup of sugar, or a pair of pliers, or some scotch tape, or a new calendar, she had it and would give it to you. She loved me, my three brothers, and her oldest grandson, who was like her fifth child, so very much.
My dad stayed with us until the November morning of their 57th wedding anniversary. Precisely at 11 am, he left. Then shockingly, the following month, my mom passed. I know they would feel most honored for our family to receive this beautiful gift.
They are now sailing peaceful waters. They were both the most beautiful humans to ever walk this earth. I miss them so much I can hardly breath sometimes. Everybody tells me not to be sad, because they wouldn't want that, and I do know that but, well, I guess in a way "It can't be helped".
As an artist, I love creating and telling stories through my work, so I really wanted the piece that I created for the Wehe family to tell a story, to tell their story, so here is how their bowl came to be...
I loved Susan's description of her dad teaching himself how to sail, so I found it only appropriate to use a sailboat to represent him. Sailing holds a special place in my heart, and from her words, I imagine that a boat suits him well....strong and flexible, precise and unpredictable.
As far as her mom, Daisy, I decided to represent her with nothing other than~daisies. I imagine with a name like that, she was gifted with many daisies throughout her life. But aside from that, I imagined that her soul was beautiful and giving just as flowers are to the world. I purposely put the flowers beneath the boat because I felt that from Susan's stories, that Daisy was a big part of holding her family up, and being a wonderful support.
I wanted to also incorporate all of Jim and Daisy's children, so I created 5 separate sun beams. As a parent myself I consider my children my light, and can only imagine that Susan and Jim felt the same way.
I specifically made the rim with a broken edge because to me there is nothing more beautiful than something real. And from Susan's beautiful recollection of her parents stories, I absolutely loved how the realness of her family shined through.