I thought that I would share some writings on work, play, pleasure and influences..... RS:
Studio, Saarinen House basement, c1978
Work & Play
I am an early riser; always have been. I get up at 6AM every morning; sometimes earlier. At Cranbrook, I would get up, cross the street and go up to my office. I would write out my schedule for the day; dictate letters, memos and whatever; and leave notes ‘to do’ on staff desks. An hour later, I would leave the office and walk or cycle; around Kingswood Lake, through the woods and along the paths. I would return to Saarinen House; shower and dress ready for the day. By 8.30AM, I was back in the office; the staff addressing the various tasks and issues that I had left them. The winter snows would interfere with my walks but a path was always cleared early to my office.
My daily schedule was written out every morning on a yellow pad; never to exceed one page. I believe that President Reagan said that his staff should always fit any memo to him on one page. I felt the same about my daily schedule. To this day, I continue this practice; first started when I began teaching, a lifetime ago. At the Corcoran, I did the yellow pad schedule, memos and dictation early; first, I had to drive to work. With the DC traffic, the yellow pad was on the passenger seat, ready for me to make notes. Later, hand held dictation machines with small tapes were used on my travels; cursed by the secretarial staff.
Nowadays, I still rise at 6AM; as does Agnes but I am not allowed to talk, difficult for me! I work at my computer, on daily correspondence; Agnes reads the morning paper with her coffee. After an hour, we take our morning walk; my schedule remains consistent, even my naps. Every day, I take an early afternoon nap. I did so when I was working! After lunch, usually a business affair, I would nap. At the Corcoran, where I used the original board for my office, I would close the tall doors and nap. Sometimes, I would nap in a chair or stretch out on the boardroom table; no one dare disturb me! My naps could be for twenty minutes, sometimes longer; a short nap would suffice. At Cranbrook, I had the luxury of crossing the street and stretching out on my bed. I can take a nap anywhere and do. The Army taught me to do that; in those days, I could sleep standing up!
The cell phone was not available in my working career; not sure how I would have dealt with that. I am a non stop talker; the normal phone, always at my ear, seemed enough for me. Naturally, my staff was always relieved to see me leave the office; silence prevailed. I not only talk but do so loudly; may be as I was an army sergeant?! Voice projection is no problem for me; a microphone rarely needed but the decibels are high. How many times have I been told, often sight unseen, “Would know that voice anywhere”?!
Other than dictation machines, another device appeared that I used to the surprise of staff. While at the Corcoran, I had to go to New York; in those days I used Amtrak with its newly introduced express service. I was taken to the station by staff; as usual, I was issuing last minute instructions and tasks. On the train, I saw that pay phones had been installed in the club car and could be used by travelers. I waited until the train had gone thru Baltimore, giving my staff time to get back to the office. I phoned my secretary. At first she was dumbfounded, having put me aboard the train; how could I be speaking to her? When I told her about the train phone, she was aghast. She thought that she had three hours without my voice, bellowing demands; no more!
Later at Cranbrook, a similar experience occurred. I was to fly across country to California. I was taken to the airport by car; as usual staff taking notes and discussing issues. After take off, an announcement was made that, for the first time flying, phone service would be available. With the use of a credit card, the phone installed in front of passengers could be activated and used. I waited a while, remembered a few issues that needed further discussion; I phoned the office. The response from my secretary was of surprise, then shock. She was incredulous and horrified that, from a plane cruising at 30,000’, I could phone her!
The yellow pad remains as the mainstay of my daily schedule and the tasks ‘to do’. I write these out in distinctive print, my personal handwriting. I put an ‘o’ before each task; once done, I put a cross thru that ‘o’. These yellow pads became known to many; one of my many idiosyncrasies.
In April 2008, Agnes and I were visiting Manhattan and were at the Museum of Modern Art. The installation was taking place of a major retrospective of the work of Martin Puryear; a sculptor that I know and admire. We watched the installation from a distance; respectful of what was involved. I saw John Elderfield, the chief curator at MOMA; he had been a student at Leeds University when I was teaching at Leeds College of Art. Indeed, his professor was Eric Cameron, my next door neighbor in the village of Horsforth. Eric moved to Guelph University in Canada. In the early seventies, he invited me to do a joint show, with John Elderfield, of our paintings. Later, John visited me at the Corcoran where I had become Director.
As we were about to leave MOMA, John happened to turn and rushed over; embracing me warmly. He seemed so relieved and explained that early that morning, he was walking on Fifth Avenue. We had not seen one another for some years; he thought he recognized that tall, bearded figure. I was wearing a long raincoat and big brimmed hat. John shook his head, thinking it can’t be Roy; he began to worry that he was seeing people from his past. Without hat and hearing my voice, he was most relieved that it was me! John went on to say that, recently; he recalled that visit to my Corcoran office. At that time, he noted the yellow pad of my daily doings; he could not understand why anyone would need to do this. Since becoming a curator, he admitted that a yellow pad was an indispensable part of his daily routine; just like me! We laughed at our shared obsession.
To organize the day is important for anyone; in the museum profession such organization is a necessity. From director to curator, every museum professional has a multitude of tasks and responsibilities. In the past, I have written and lectured on these problems: budgets, trustees, volunteers, politicians, patrons, journalists, critics, artists, membership, attendance, tours, lighting, heating, climate control, security, conservation, acquisitions, exhibitions, catalogs, invitations, posters, education, labeling, technology, insurance, transportation, events, lectures, receptions, fund raisers and much else.
Meetings with staff, artists, colleagues and committees can consume the day. I remember the advice given to me as fledgling director: “Try to make meetings particularly mundane or unimportant ones occur in the afternoon.” The morning is the best time for real work; not listening to people. As a morning person, that is when I am at my best. To spend valuable time in conversation or committee seemed wasteful. Whenever appropriate, I would delegate a staff member to represent me or the Academy. My meetings were normally scheduled for afternoons; if at all. The exception was the monthly faculty / staff meetings that occurred in the morning; this meeting was an important forum for sharing information, activities and achievements.
Ironically, I ended up chairing many meetings; some for the State of Michigan, others professional and national committees. I was chairman of Design Michigan and for the Commission of Art in Public Places for Michigan. At a national level, for many years, I chaired the Education Committee of the Association of Art Museum Directors and, among other committees, served as chair of The Museum Program Panel for NEA. As chair, I believed in an agenda which reflected the purpose of the meeting. Most important, I felt a meeting should have goals; be about issues that were to be resolved. Meetings should have a definitive time allotted rather than being open ended. Otherwise, a meeting can be meaningless; fulfilling the definition of a committee as “a group of people who set out to design a car and ended up with a camel.”?! As chair, I directed meetings with the intention of gaining a consensus; making informed and, hopefully, intelligent decisions.
I must admit that I am not a good listener; particularly when my mind is made up, which was usually the case. A young curator, in absolute frustration, complained that, “Once his mind is made up, I could sit in front of Roy, douse myself with gasoline, apply a light and he would not take notice!” She was probably right. Another curator noted that once my arms were folded, “Roy has made up his mind; further discussion is useless!” Of course, I did talk to students and staff, tried to find out the issues; get information. By nature, I am curious; I like people and like to talk. However, I distrust committees and meetings that become forums for frustration. I detest disruptive diatribe.
By temperament, I am impatient; known for outbursts of anger. With my loud voice and powerful presence, such outbursts were to be feared; fortunately, few and far between. As a boss, I suppose I was demanding. I asked no more of my staff (and students) than I was willing to give myself: that was hard work. By nature, I am a workaholic. People always are telling me how they envy the energy I have. The terms “energetic” and “enthusiastic” have used when describing me; I hope I am. Sometimes, I think that my childhood days in the Blitz may have affected me; I was grateful for surviving. As a child, I remember coming out of the air raid shelter, thinking that the morning light looked so good. I do to this day. The dawn is the beginning not only of a new day but an opportunity. As I get older, I am ever more thankful for each day; an opportunity and a gift.
My sense of humor serves me well and always has. Again, as a child, I remember coming home after a heavy bombing. The windows had been blown out and soot, fallen in to the fireplace, filled the living room. I reassured my mother that we wouldn’t need the chimney sweep. I can think of endless hilarious moments throughout my life. When taken out of context, the humor is lost and means little; at the time so funny? I do believe in the truism: “Cry and you cry alone; laugh and the world laughs with you”!
Being an only child, by nature, I was shy and introvert; until becoming an art student at the age of sixteen. I realized that I had to fend for myself, to speak out. I did and became President of the Student Council. I learnt that the loudest voice gets heard; not necessarily the wisest. At an early age, blowing one’s own trumpet is a necessary evil; no one else will spare their breath to do so? Later, achievements speak for themselves? I was always speaking. Ironically, one of the many things that I learnt in the Army was voice projection. Being trained as sergeants, we were lined opposite one another, across the vastness of a barracks square. We had to bellow orders to one another and be heard or else. I made sure that I was heard and have done so ever since?!
Born in Wales, I do have an accent; unfortunately, a city accent. The Welsh can speak in a lilting language but not this lad from Cardiff. Mine is the harsh city accent of the hard “a”; in recent years, often mistaken for an Australian accent. Most unfortunate as, in our national pastime and passion of rugby football, the Aussies are the bitter rivals of the Welsh. When I first came to America, forty years ago, my Welsh accent may have been more pronounced; whatever, I did sound different. In Britain, the people have dialects; in this country, we have accents, mine was distinct. One of my first lectures was in Tuscaloosa at the University of Alabama. After my presentation, a lovely Southern lady came to me and gushed, “I didn’t understand a word you said, but I loved the way you said it.”?!
Speaking and voice projection seem to come naturally; may be the Welsh in me? My favorite poet is Dylan Thomas. To hear recordings of him reading his poems on radio is a distant memory; to read his writings today remain a delight. His famous work, a radio play for voices, “Under Milk Wood” was set in the mythical village of Llareggub; which is ‘Bugger all’ spelt backwards! “A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ is a short story that is part of my life; as is the autobiographical book “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog”. Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea, South Wales; not far from my native Cardiff. He died in 1953 in New York at the age of 39. I was in college and idolized the poet; saddened by his death at a young age. The Welsh painter, Alfred Janes, knew Dylan well and told many a tale of their times together; Janes painted three portraits of the poet. Thomas’s stories of his lecture tours in America reflected my own experiences in the States; a decade later. I did not drink as much; unlike the legendary poet. The Welsh actor Richard Burton, another great drinker and storyteller, was also an artiste I admired; another great voice.
When lecturing, I need neither notes nor microphone. However, I soon found out that my American audience did; may be as reassurance? I began to put notes on the lectern but never read them; occasionally flicked the pages. The microphone was there but not on; like the lectern notes, seemingly giving me credibility in the eyes of the American audience. Early on, I realized another big difference between the USA and UK. In Britain, the word is everything, as are pronunciation and projection. Not so in the USA, with many different languages; numbers become the shared commonality. The number “1” means the same in every language; numbers and stats became the universal language, whether in finance or sports. In England, the saying goes “It is not to win but to play the game”. In America, winning is all, as are stats; from baseball to football, many statistics for teams, players and hot dogs sold?! Soon after coming to this great country, I understood and embraced this difference. I had played and watched soccer in the old country; a game could be decided by one goal or, more often, end in a goalless draw. Unacceptable in football here; where yardage gained, passes attempted and completed, time of possession and endless stats mean almost as much as the score, the more points the better? In an interview, I described the NFL games as “chess with muscles”; strategy being as important as stats, almost?!
Again, I learnt quickly to include stats and numbers and dates in my lectures; like the mike and notes, giving me credibility in the eyes of my audience. My lectures are on art and I use slides. I do give other speeches, like keynote addresses or after dinner talks, but prefer my visual presentations. For years, I have used slides, many which I used to take myself, Nowadays, the power point is the preferred method of presentation; anything seems possible in this digital world. I wonder how much longer, the lecture or lecturer will be necessary; I hope forever, of course!
During my career, as I have said, I was dependent on my staff; particularly my secretary and assistants. At Cranbrook, Roberta Stewart became my secretary in 1979; she was made my assistant soon after. She was with me for 15 years. During that time she proved to be most reliable, conscientious, capable and, most important, could keep my life and work in strict confidence. I trusted her absolutely and she never failed me; for that I am forever grateful. The same could be could be said for my other staff; but Roberta took care of more than my responsibilities as President of the Academy and Director of the Museum. She coordinated my professional activities and travels; typed reports and articles; took care of my personal affairs. Roberta recorded and wrote out the minutes for many meetings, including staff/faculty and the Board of Governors. Her ability to record minutes was uncanny; she sat but, not knowing shorthand, she made notes. I remember one board member admiring Roberta’s ability, seemingly, to just sit thru meetings and then produce the finest minutes; too true! Another admirable attribute was to find a file or letter instantly; also to remember names. In all this, she had a quiet, always pleasant, demeanor. Happy to sit at her desk, listening to radio soaps, Roberta fulfilled her multitude of tasks and many responsibilities. She related to people well. Roberta was most supportive of my endeavors, many achieved because of her assistance and commitment.
Once dictated, in to my recorder, my letters were typed out by Roberta and were rarely, if ever, changed. In fact, I trusted her to sign my letters. She got good enough with her version of my signature that I let her sign my personal checks. When I retired, the bank then questioned my own signature, that I had written myself?! Other than letters, I could dictate reports and administrative memos but not articles nor catalog introductions. I wrote those out by hand, as ever, on the yellow pad; Roberta would then type up. Today, when writing, I use the computer; either a Voice Recognition system or the keypad. When I was at school in Wales, we were not taught to type; I never acquired that skill. Nowadays, my one finger typing has got fast enough for my purposes.
Roberta is a dear friend; at times, I think of her as a daughter. To this day, Agnes and I feel that she is family; indeed, we are part of hers. When we were working together, Roberta shared in the belief that at Cranbrook, “we worked hard and played hard”.
As I was leaving Cranbrook, in late ’94, the students gave me a surprise party at the student lounge. That night, they named the lounge in my honor: “Slade’s Bar”! Wearing masks that were a photo of my face, they were jubilant as was I. After all, I had spent enough time there to justify the honor: socializing, playing pool and dancing. The lounge was in the basement of the dorm next to Saarinen House; all too close. However much we partied, however late, I was always up at dawn and in the office; my morning schedule unaffected. Not the case with Roberta who, at times, would weakly phone to whisper that she was on ‘her life raft’! Best not to go to further on reminisces of the bar; suffice to say that I played pool well, threw darts even better and danced the night away.
From museum receptions to alumni reunions, there was entertaining and cultivating; for our events encouraged goodwill and support. The Guy Fawkes Ball has been described and, with Brolly Day, was a successful fun and fund raiser. The Annual Auction was hard work but the night of the auction was fun. Bob Yares played an invaluable role in these events, working closely with the students. Bob was always ready to party; or to organize a party.
In 1983, for my Fiftieth Birthday, he excelled himself. That weekend, I was relaxing at my cottage on Harsens Island. In the distance, coming down the freighter channel of the St Clair River, I saw a ferry boat. Strange as no ferries come that way, the boat got closer. Suddenly, the ferry veered towards the cottage, stopped at the sea wall and dropped its loading ramp. Like a ‘D Day’ landing, my entire staff and faculty, with wives and children, disembarked on to the lawn! Rarely have I been so surprised! What a party!
Another surprise party was for the 1987 celebration of my 10 years at Cranbrook. Early in the evening, a formal reception had been held at Booth House; afterwards, I was taken in a limo, supposedly for dinner. On this occasion, my beloved mother played a role as she told me how pleased we could have a quiet dinner together. Image my surprise when we arrived at a Disco in Pontiac; housed in a converted theatre. A perfect place to arrive with crowds cheering in the vestibule and a slide show of my life appearing on the huge screen! This happening was organized by Bob Yares and Agnes Fleckenstein; I was incredulous! We partied the night away!
Another annual affair was the Boxing Day party. Every Christmas, we decorated a tree in Saarinen House; a perfect setting for a party. Eliel Saarinen’s parties and martinis were legendary; we carried on the tradition. Students were invited, on the last day of the fall semester, to stop by for ‘punch and cookies’. The next evening, there was the Christmas party for staff, faculty, wives and children. The day after Christmas, Boxing Day, was our favorite party, a tradition from the old country that seemed right at Cranbrook. Friends were invited for Bloody Mary’s and pork pies, sausage rolls and scotch eggs; very British. With the tree lit, the fire blazing, snow on the ground; the party became immensely popular with our many friends. Included in the gathering were members of the Board of Governors, artists and patrons. Over the years, our friends would bring their children, now grown up but home for the holidays. Agnes had her two sons and daughter (now my family) home and, for them, the party became a reunion. Happy days!
Personal & Pleasure
In talking about work, I did mention getting up early. I should add that I get up at 6.00AM precisely; the digital numbers on the alarm must show that exact time. I do not need an alarm buzzer to wake me but I need the time. I will only get up on the hour, half or quarter hour. If I miss the hour, then I wait until quarter past. Happily, this habit does not apply to naps; I can fall off and wake up at any time! Do not ask why; just one of many idiosyncrasies? I am Welsh and superstitious. I come from the land of the wizard Merlin and the Black Prince, lost forever in the mists of Snowdonia. I touch wood; will not go under ladders; toss spilt salt over my left shoulder; try to avoid travel on Friday the Thirteenth; and hope that a black cat crosses my path?!
In high school, the history teacher once explained to my class how our superstitions and swear words were derived. The habit of touching wood comes from the cross on which the Lord was crucified; salt was rubbed by Roman soldiers into the wound. The word “Bloody” comes from the blood of Christ, on the cross, and should never be used. The history teacher went on to admonish us boys never to use the Lord’s name in vain. Unfortunately, the word “Bloody” along with “Bugger” are the most frequently used words in the English language. Strange how a teacher’s words can stay with you forever?
I have found that I have students that tell me they remember my words to them?! The most recent was from a pupil that I taught in a secondary school in Wales. Nidrel Walsh wrote to say that he had become a pilot in the Royal Air Force; flying Vulcans and Nimrods. He then went on to University and studied psychology; a field in which he has practiced for the past twenty years. Coming from a secondary modern, not a high school, his achievements are remarkable. I have written him in hope of remembering this lad from fifty years ago. His email came as a result of seeing my website; in this way, I have heard from other friends in the UK. Nidrel ends by saying, “I still paint in the way you taught us at Heolgam and I am pleased that you are still around and enjoying life, albeit in America.”!
Over the years, I have kept in touch with students from the Corcoran and Cranbrook. Years ago, as Dean of the Corcoran School of Art, I was in my office meeting with a visitor. The door knocked, a student entered, knelt and took my hand. He kissed my ring saying, “Holiness, will you honor me with your presence in my studio?” The student rose, bowed and left my office. The visitor was nonplussed; I reassured him that all of the students did this. Of course that was not true; only the Mad Hungarian, Janos Enyedi. To this day, he addresses me as “Holiness”; Agnes is “Mother Superior” and his wife Diana “The Kaiserina”. We exchange emails regularly, at least a few every week; discussing art and life. Janos is my constant correspondent; in 2006, we visited him in Virginia at his Furnace Road Studio. From his student days, his abilities and work have always impressed. The industrial collages and constructions of Janos Enyedi are to de admired; as are his recent digital prints, colorful and composed, of tugboats and bridges. The Mad Hungarian looks the part; with huge and flourishing handlebar mustache, piercing eyes and resonant voice.
My voice is more resonant and loud; I have discussed that but not my appearance. As a child, during the Blitz, I had the nightly argument with my mother. I did not want to go to the air raid shelter with my pajamas showing beneath my shorts. I was not so fussy in my student days; wearing paint stained and torn clothes. No jeans in those days but corduroy; my trousers too short, worn at half mast. I was a Bohemian; I had no interest how I looked. In the Army, I had no choice; from beret to buttons to boots: everything had to be perfect. Daily and constant dress inspection made sure of that. I pressed my trousers myself, always to a sharp crease; a habit to this day. Although now living in Florida, shorts and tee shirt are my daily dress. When I left the Army, I got my first suit; then I bought blazer and grays. I was getting dress conscious but flamboyantly so! I wore colorful ties and a silk pocket handkerchief; a conceit that I continued throughout my life. At the Corcoran, I liked colorful flowered ties; my dress varied. In the studio, I wore denim jeans, paint stained. An invitation, to a show of my paintings at the Jefferson Place Gallery, showed me in my different dress. Four photographs presented me in suit, tux, jeans and shorts; representing the many facets of my life, from director to artist. The tuxedo became a necessary part of my wardrobe; with ruffled shirts and colorful cumber bands. I always was distinctive?!
As ever, I digress; back to personal matters but not too personal. When I was a young boy, I was with my mother, waiting at a bus stop. She asked, ‘What is the number of that bus?” I responded, “What bus?” We were waiting for a double decker! My mother realized that I needed to have my eyes tested; I did and was found to be short sighted. Ever since, I have worn glasses. Initially, I would put them in the top pocket of my blazer; I was young and self conscious. I did not like being called “Four Eyes”. After loosing a few pair of glasses, my mother suggested that I keep them where they should be; on my head. I did so and have done so ever since. How many spectacles have been worn, broken, lost, sat on, discarded, thrown away and replaced; who knows? The changing fashions and improvements have been tried; never contact lenses nor laser surgery. I am too used to wearing glasses; now clear and transitional lenses with titanium stems. Light and easy to wear, unlike the big owl glasses or heavy tortoiseshell that I have worn; I like my new glasses. As I write this, a email popped up offering easy, safe and low cost Lasik surgery. Is there a Big Brother out there in cyberspace?
When I left the Army, I grew a beard; I have never shaven since. I have had a beard for fifty two years; I am very attached to it and it to me?! At first, I had a Van Dyck; required daily trimming. By the time that I came to America, I had a full beard. I do shave daily and trim weekly; enough of that! My hair has been curly and wavy forever; unruly may be the word? As an art student unkempt may have been more apt; the army changed that, as I was shaven to the skull. My hair was dark and curly; now white and wavy. With my blue eyes, a gift from my mother; wasted on a boy said she?!
My adult height has been at 6’1’’; I am tall. Recently, I was measured by a nurse who pronounced that I was six foot and half an inch. I protested vigorously; she was adamant, stating that, with old age, we shrink a little?! I wish the same could be said of weight but, sadly, with age, comes ‘the battle of the bulge’. When in my twenties, I was ‘skin and bones’. During my first year in America, that changed dramatically. In the land of the Big Burger and 51 Flavors, with delights denied me as a Blitz kid, I put on weight immediately. The ‘battle’ continues to this day as I try to keep my weight down to 195 lbs; my doctor would like ten or more less than that. Ah well, I try to eat less and exercise more. Walking has been, always, a daily pleasure.
My boyhood friend was Michael Lewis; he and I lived on the same street; a few houses apart. We went through the Blitz together; went to different schools but stayed close friends, even through my college days. From the beginning of our friendship, we liked to walk. Every Sunday afternoon, for hour after hour, we would walk the streets and docks of Cardiff. These walks went on until I went in the Army; there I was doing forced walks and combat courses. After those military days, I returned to Cardiff; Michael and I continued those Sunday walks for a few more years. By then, we had added beer drinking to our pleasures; we walked and visited many a pub. More of pub walk than a pub crawl, we got to know the joys of many hostelries!
In America, in those first few weeks, I walked the streets of Manhattan and do so to this day. In Washington DC, I walked in Georgetown, along the canal and the paths of Great Falls. At Cranbrook, as I have said, I walked the grounds early, every morning. In Florida, Agnes and I walk daily; she enjoys walking as much as I do. Our usual routine is to leave early in the morning to walk along the beaches of the Gulf; out on the pier; by boats at dock; across the causeway and bridge. The walks are endless and varied; always beneficial and beautiful.
In my youth, I had habits that were not beneficial. Among pleasures are found vices; isn’t that the story of life? I did smoke; starting in college and then the Army. I referred to myself as an ‘evening smoker’; I liked a cigarette with a drink. I smoked menthol cigarettes but could not smoke and work. I did not like to smoke outside in the fresh air or during the day. I wonder why I ever smoked, never liked smoking? I gave up twenty five years ago; easy to do as young John would roll around on the floor coughing whenever I lit up! I went ‘cold turkey’ and did the same with liquor; like cigarettes, never did like the taste! Nowadays, beer and wine will suffice. Non alcoholic beer prevents putting on weight; I had drunk enough beer in the pubs of Britain. For wine, our preference is French; an ordinary dry red table wine is fine. As we get older, we try and do eat less. Our morning starts with cereal and we like eggs for lunch; daughter Anne says we are the only people she knows that have two breakfasts a day? When dining out, our favorite food is Indian; not easy to find outside the big city. During the summer, the farm on Shelter Island provides abundance of veggies and berries; with fish from the occasional fishing trip on Peconic Bay.
Over the years, Agnes and I have fished from Michigan to the Bahamas. In Michigan, we fished for walleye and perch; in New York, for flounder and blues; in Key West, for grouper and yellowtail; and, in Florida, for Spanish mackerel and sheepshead. Actually, we have not got into fishing that much since moving to the Gulf. However, we have been fishing off Key West and throughout the Bahamas with Captain Frank Piku. He and his wife, Shirley, are our dear friends that we met in Michigan; they are art collectors. Their homes in Pontiac and Key West have fine works of art; including one of my paintings! Shirley is active in the art world whereas Frank is an extraordinary fisherman; recently he became a charter captain. What adventures we have had with them. Shirley and Frank would fly to meet us on our boat ‘Lady A’; we have cruised together in the Caribbean, Chesapeake and Gulf. I have fished with Frank in the Bahamas from Walker Cay to the Eleuthera; Agnes joined us on some of those tropical trips. Nowadays, we visit Shirley and Frank in Key West for arty parties and fishing; at Miami Beach Art Basel, we meet them for camaraderie and culture!
As always when fishing, many a tale is to be told, few to be believed? Of course, ours are true! When fishing with Captain Frank Piku, we chum as chumming attracts the big fish. Chumming is the act of putting fish mush in the water to attract fish. The chum can be fish ends or bait, cut and mashed up; dragged along in a mesh bag or thrown overboard from a bucket. The blood and guts can create a feeding frenzy and bring big fish. Agnes was throwing chum overboard and then lent over the side to wash her hands in the ocean. Captain Frank stopped her quickly as chumming attracts sharks; always wash your hands aboard the boat not in the sea! Sure enough later, a big fish was caught; the line strained then sagged. A large fish head was reeled aboard; a shark had taken the rest of the fish, better a fish than a hand?!
When fishing in the Bahamas, the same thing happened to me; I snagged a fish but brought in only the head. The next cast, I caught the culprit, a large barracuda. When on a fishing trip in Mexico, I had learned how to smoke or barbeque barracuda; so I cooked and ate the barracuda that had eaten my fish, poetic justice?! Much better fish to eat are walleye, which we caught in Michigan. In front of our cottage on Harsens Island was the St Clair River; the freighter channel and great walleye run. We would motor up stream and drift down, catching endless walleye; enough fish to freeze and last thru the winter months. On one occasion, the winds were wrong, our drift stalled in front of a neighbor’s house. He came down, an objectionable person, and starting yakking and yelling at Agnes and me. We were caught not the fish?!
Recently, on a trip to Key West, Captain Frank invited me to be his mate on a fishing charter. I had to cut bait; bait hooks; clean up; pull the anchor; and swab the decks. We cruised out many miles to one of Captain Frank’s favorite fishing holes; we were fishing for grouper. Like the captain, as mate, I dropped in a line, over 60’ down. I pulled in grouper after grouper, all long enough to be keepers. No one else was catching; I brought in the boat’s limit of six keeper groupers within as many minutes. Not what a mate is supposed to do with paying clients. Captain Frank admitted rarely, if ever, that many keeper grouper are caught so quickly; ‘twas my day?! Another good day was fishing with our son Chuck in Peconic Bay, off Jessup Point. Chuck is a fly fisherman, even in the ocean; I am a traditional fisherman. On this occasion, I used artificial lures that I threw out; skimming the surface as I reeled in. I caught two huge blue fish; our catch for the day. The photograph exists of us holding these fish; caught by the old man of the sea?!
Another story of the sea concerns not fishing but Art Basel. Last December, 2007, we were meeting Frank and Shirley Piku at Miami Beach Art Basel. As usual, Shirley was organizing the trip; she selected endless openings, exhibitions and events. Agnes and I went to a few; on this occasion, I found something that interested us. On the internet, I read an announcement: “World’s First Art Fair Mega Yacht joins Miami’s Art Fair Season”. Launching the December Miami art fair season, SeaFair offers a Collector’s Champagne reception on Friday, Nov. 30…….the art world’s most exclusive venue – a purposely built 228’ foot mega yacht will be docked at the Miami Beach Marina. The announcement went on to describe the 26 gallery spaces and international dealers, presenting outstanding art and renowned artists. A restaurant “Sapore” offered fine cuisine and we were advised to make reservations; I did for the four of us.
At the Miami Beach Convention Center, I asked the Art Basel receptionists about ‘SeaFair’; no one had heard of this floating art gallery! However, when making reservations, I had given my cell phone number to the ‘Sapore’ restaurant; they had phoned that evening to confirm that we were coming? Frank Piku drove to the marina; there were signs and valet parking. A golf cart shuttle took us to the huge mega yacht; we went up the gangplank. Once aboard, we were warmly welcomed, photographed by security and issued plastic membership cards.
We wandered thru lush galleries, with museum quality art, and elegant dealers but no people. Indeed, the dealers far exceeded the visitors that evening; only a few guests, besides the four of us? The artists were Modern Masters and Contemporary American including Braque, Calder, Chamberlain, Lichenstein, Monet, Prendergast, Picasso, Renoir, Rodin, Stella and Warhol. The dealers were eager to talk to us, disappointed by the lack of visitors, let alone possible clients? Some dealers expressed puzzlement as to why they were there? The art was excellent, beautifully presented in lavish surroundings but no viewers; most odd. We wandered up through the decks, now galleries, to the restaurant ‘Sapore’; again we were warmly welcomed, the only diners aboard. Later, some dealers came but just three tables out of forty were taken, including ours. The surroundings were lavish, like the galleries below. With wood and brass, the dining room was most nautical and classy; views of big boats and marina lights. The food was exquisite and expensive; the service perfect. We left ‘SeaFair’, no golf cart in sight; we walked to the Piku’s car, valet parkers had gone. The car was locked; we took taxis, an ignominious ending to a peculiar evening.
The next day, Frank did retrieve his keys; Agnes and I went back aboard. We were curious. Our lunch was a shared sandwich, $26 from the Bistro; we sat on the back deck with great views of the marina, boats and Miami. Again, we talked with dealers, now frustrated and angry; still only a few visitors. I talked to crew members who said the boat wasn’t seaworthy; had difficulties with ballast and balance; and had problems since launching. On returning home to Clearwater, we received an invitation to a fundraiser aboard ‘SeaFair’. The event to be held at Sarasota Marina was for the Ringling Museum of Art. The invitation was elegant and exquisite but came to naught. A few weeks later, an apologetic letter admitted to problems that caused cancellation of the event. In every way, ‘SeaFair” appeared lost at sea?!
Back to pastimes, as well as walking, we like to bike and play golf. Less active a pastime is watching sports on TV; I am a ‘football freak’ and enjoy soccer and football. British soccer is now available on cable and, of course, there are endless NFL games to watch. I do prefer college football. Agnes will watch with me when the Wolverines play; we are University of Michigan fans. With the DVR and ability to record games, I no longer have to be a slave to the box. I can watch whenever I want and fast forward at will; but the Wolverines must be viewed ‘live’; Go Blue!
Agnes introduced me to golf; she taught me “head down and eye on the ball.” I enjoy golf courses, manmade and manicured; always visually pleasing. We have played on courses from Canada to the Bahamas; I am more into views and vistas than the game. Agnes and I have watched professional games on courses with spectacular views from Kapalua to Torrey Pines. In Florida, we prefer to play the shorter and less demanding executive courses; of which there are many. Always something to do; how did we ever fit work into our crowded schedules? I do make time for writing and painting!
In recent years, boating has become one of our shared pleasures; Agnes and I became boaters together. We bought a boat then a bigger boat and a bigger boat; that’s what happens to boaters! We started with a 21’ power boat and ended with a 40’ cruiser, ‘Lady A’. At Cranbrook, I had the month of July off, giving us the opportunity to cruise the Great Lakes in our 32’ power boat, ‘Lady Blue’. After leaving Cranbrook, we lived and cruised aboard ‘Lady A’ for six years; tales to be told later. Nowadays, we have our 17’ boat in Clearwater; where boating is one of the attractions, as are the beaches.
I have always liked to live near water. Wales has an imposing and rugged coastline with beaches of sand or pebble; towering cliffs; jagged rocks; sand dunes; hidden coves; inlets and rivers. The tides are extreme; low tide leaves boats lying helpless in the mud while waves come crashing in at high tide. The waters can be rough and the currents treacherous. Beaches have always been a source of curiosity; when a child, the rock pools were an endless fascination. Today, on the Gulf, with the best beaches ever, Agnes and I collect shells; enjoy the wildlife; watch out for storms; and walk with wonderment. In awe of the majesty of nature, we admire an exquisite shell while looking at the towering clouds, reflected in the ever changing waters of the Gulf.
We are on Shelter Island NY for summer; very different from the Gulf. The island is known as the “Rock”; hilly and picturesque and quaint with many inlets and creeks. Our cottage is on our elder son Chuck's weekend farm; fields and trees and green!
On Monday July 14, I was ‘75 years young’; a Bastille boy! The previous Saturday was my birthday dinner prepared by younger son John, who got live lobsters and steaks for a sumptuous meal of ‘surf and turf’. His wife, Margo baked a birthday cake with candles arranged to read ‘75’. A memorable feast on the farm with family and our young grandchildren, Charles & Clara; the perfect way to celebrate 75 years!
On Monday night, July 14, Agnes and I had dinner on the island to celebrate not only my birthday but our 25 marvelous and magical years together! More happy days!
RS working in printmaking department on lithography stone for Artists in Residence Portfolio 1982.
Family & Teachers & Painters
Thinking of people who have influenced me, I began to write about my mother. She gave me the greatest support and encouragement; although she knew little about art and could not draw. People always wonder who influenced me to be an artist; certainly no one in my family. I remember an aunt who copied picture postcards in pen and ink; but I was already drawing and copying cartoons by then. At the age of five, I had won a prize for coloring a porcelain figure; not very original.
The influences were more on me as a person. In that regard my grandfather, Jack Stone, was an important part of my childhood; I adored him. My father, Trevor David Slade, and my grandmother, Florence Stone, died in January 1936. My mother lost her husband and her mother within three weeks. When I was 12 years old, my mother remarried as, years earlier, had my grandfather. They ended up by marrying a brother and sister; making my stepfather both my grandfather’s son in law and brother in law?! My stepfather, William Roberts, was good to me, being supportive through my student days at home and beyond. At school, I was influenced by my art teacher, Roy Saunders. In college, my painting professor, Eric Malthouse, became a friend; influencing my pub crawls rather than my painting.
Naturally, there were artists that I admired when I was a student: from Turner and Constable to Utrillo and Van Gogh. The artist that I had the greatest problem with was Paul Cezanne. I was puzzled by the awkwardness and crudeness of his painting. Picasso was more exciting at that time. Later, Cezanne became the painter for whom I have the greatest admiration. Through his life’s struggle to get it right, he can indeed be regarded as the father of Modern Painting.
As a young artist, I was made aware of Modern American Art through exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. The director, Bryan Robertson, organized the most influential modern art exhibitions in post-war Britain: Jackson Pollock's first British show in 1958, Mark Rothko's in 1961, Robert Rauschenberg's retrospective in 1964. Other shows included Roy Lichtenstein and Pop Art. The exhibitions that he curated were in the large gallery spaces of the Whitechapel, in the unlikely setting of London’s East End. Exhibitions of the work of Lee Krasner and Helen Frankenthaler were presented. Years later, at the Corcoran, I was to organize exhibitions of these two women; Bryan was the first to do so. Indeed, in those days of the late 50’s and early 60’s, more recognition came to American Art in London than through New York; the shows at the Whitechapel were among the first major exhibitions of these artists. I went to London to see these shows, often in awe and sometimes puzzlement. The huge and colorful canvases were overwhelming, as were the images and imagination of these modern masters.
I met many painters, particularly as a museum director, and admired the work of many. I was particularly fortunate to have met and visited with Clyfford Still; a painter I regard highly. I stand in awe of his paintings; of a scale and sublimity that evokes the wonder of nature. From the beginning, of all that truly influences me, nature remains my own going inspiration. I would photograph rock pools and study the waves; the Welsh coastline is impressive and varied; from towering cliffs to sandy coves. The love of landscape was part of my upbringing. I became more and interested in the abstract aspects of nature: from passing clouds to swirling water. My paintings became stained canvases of gesture and mark with paint splashed and pigment poured. In all her awesome abstraction of light, color and mood, the lasting influence and inspiration for me is Mother Earth.
I was going to call these writings “Friends, fiends and ferries” as to write about friends is difficult. Agnes and I have many dear friends; too many to write on but people we cherish. Moreover, to write on friends is delicate; confidences must be kept and friendships cherished. Nevertheless, I may write on the humorous and funny things that happen with friends. In life, as well as friends, there are ‘fiends’ but the only one that I will mention is the sergeant major. He was the terror of my Army basic training and bullied us young draftees. At night, after lights out, we continued to clean our equipment by candlelight. The sergeant major, stiff and upright with baton under his arm, appeared; unexpected and silent. He stood, glared and snuffed out the candle. “Lights out”, he snarled. The next morning, we were written up for dirty equipment; I ended up cleaning out the latrines. Although a ‘fiend’ to us trainees, he was a fine soldier and turned us in to toughened infantry. Other ‘fiends’ are not worthy of writing about, friends are; but I will start with ferries……
The cottages that Agnes and I have had are both reached by ferry. Harsens Island is in Michigan on the St Clair River; 20 miles north of Detroit, across Lake St Clair. The island can only be reached by a short ferry ride from Algonac. During the severe winters, the freshwater channel freezes over; a crossing is cut thru the ice for the ferry boats. Problems occur when the ice melts and the mushy ice flow becomes impassable. The island is only accessible, in an emergency, by helicopter. On occasion, the helicopter has had to bring in necessary food and supplies from milk to beer! Our cottage, an hour’s drive east from Cranbrook, was our getaway.
Shelter Island is at the east end of Long Island NY. Again, the island can be only reached by ferry; either from the north or south. We use the North Ferry from Greenport; that is where the bus arrives from Manhattan. The Jitney bus ride takes nearly three hours; the ferry crossing is fifteen minutes. These ferry boats, in Michigan and New York, take vehicles and foot passengers. The crossing to Shelter Island, known by the locals as “The Rock”, is picturesque with boats, inlets, beaches, houses and wooded hills.
Nevertheless, to get to either of our islands was a chore; a long way to travel by air, road and water. I will always remember our dear friend, Tony Jones, who had visited us on Harsens Island, coming to Shelter Island. On a hot day in July, he arrived at Greenport. He got off the bus from Manhattan, dropped his bags and said, “Hell and damnation! Why on earth do you always find a cottage that takes hours by road from the nearest airport; then you have to cross a ferry?”
After a few months at Cranbrook, I did realize the need to get a place away; ‘a retreat’. One day, I was in the office of Ernie Jones, chairman of the Academy’s Board of Governors. I saw an aerial photograph of an island; I asked where this was, the Bahamas I guessed? Ernie laughed, saying that was his cottage at the Old Club on Harsens Island; would I like to visit. In April, I went to visit Ernie and his wife, Marion. The ride over the ferry was a surprise and the island was a delight. Harsens is an island shaped like a horseshoe, like an inverted U facing north. The island was formed by the dividing of the St Clair River; the surrounding small islands and sandbars form a large freshwater delta. The road winds for 11miles to southwest tip of the island and the Old Club, a group of colorful houses on stilts or wooden poles above the water. The house were built in the 1920’s; I visited one and was shown the trapdoors that were put in originally; on the deck for fishing; one in the kitchen for garbage; and one in the bathroom for potty time! Of course, the trap doors all opened and used the same water!
The island is flat with marshes in the middle; tall marsh grasses and low water between the two long roads. The South Channel is the St Clair River, separating the USA and Canada; our sunrise came over the Canadian marshes; great duck hunting. Again, as I write, I use the internet to check facts; hit ‘Harsens Island’ for more information and photographs. One entry describes “the winter wonderland” and mentions the Coast guard plying the waters to keep the ice, freighters and ferries moving. One dreadful winter, Agnes and I had an awful experience. We were walking through the frozen marshes on thick ice; suddenly, we were on thin ice! Unbeknown to us, we had come to a narrow passage and the water was still moving below. The ice collapsed, we fell into freezing cold water, up to our necks. I grabbed some frozen marsh grass and held Agnes; somehow we managed to clamber out on to the ice. Our golden retriever, Ace, paddled around; I managed to haul him out. Shivering, in soaking wet clothes and sloshing boots, we walked back across the deserted marsh in bitter cold wind. Back at the cottage, hot showers and a hot toddy brought us back to life, still shivering and shaking for hours to come; either from the cold or the terrifying ordeal?!
Forever after, Ernie Jones would admonish us “to keep off that damn ice”! Many happy times were spent at the Old Club with Marion and Ernie Jones and their family. We were privileged to be part of that family; becoming close friends, celebrating holidays together. The summers were always fun on the island, boating on Ernie’s Chris Craft was a delight. The family were wonderful and we have endless memories of play and parties; happy days!
Ernie Jones was Chairman of the board of Governors when I accepted the position as President of the Academy. He continued on as Chairman for many years; I was more than fortunate as he was a remarkable and respected leader. In the world of Advertising, Ernie was something of a legend. I remember him telling me that he was off to Hawaii to meet with the NFL. I asked him why and he replied that he was going to bring the Super Bowl to Michigan?! I was incredulous. Although the game would be played inside, visitors would have to deal with the January winter snows rather than enjoy the sunshine of the South. However, the saying that “he could sell ice cubes to Eskimos” did apply to Ernie.
In Time Magazine, January 1982, an article was published “First Outside Sunbelt”. The following in an extract: “Pontiac, Mich., a lunch-bucket industrial suburb 25 miles northwest of Detroit, seems an unlikely host for Super Bowl XVI. It is the first time in the history of the sports event that the game will move outside the Sunbelt. “The N.F.L.'s decision to bring their ball to Pontiac's playground was not entirely magnanimous. Ernest Jones, 66, chairman of the Michigan Super Bowl Committee, is also chairman of D'Arcy-MacManus & Masius, a Detroit-based advertising agency, and he tackled Pete Rozelle with the aid of an awesome lineup. Jones got a full roster of ad-firm chieftains to "remind" Rozelle of their dedication. That dedication is measured in automotive industry advertisers—from cars to spark plugs to tires—who have supported the N.F.L. on television with an estimated $1 billion in commercials over the decades. "It was like whacking a donkey with a two-by-four," recalls Jones. "It got their attention." And their votes.”
I know why as Ernie showed me the video prepared and shown to the NFL. The impressive presentation resulted in Super Bowl XVI being played at the Pontiac Silverdome on January 24, 1982. The San Francisco 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21; 49ers quarterback Joe Montana was named MVP. In the cold-weather city, the domed stadium saved the crowd at the game from the very cold and snowy weather.
The weather did affect traffic with icy roads and a wind chill well below zero. I know because Ernie invited me to join him at the game; I was his designated driver! We went to one of many receptions, lavishly hosted by the auto industry. The roads were crowded and treacherous but I drove along the shoulder; after all, Ernie was the Host Chairman. The VIP box of the NFL was Ernie’s regular box from which we watched many a Detroit Lions game. The Super Bowl was special, especially as Diana Ross joined us. I welcomed her and she asked for a phone. She was so excited about having just sung the National Anthem; she wanted to phone her mother. Diana Ross was distraught when she heard that her mother did not watch the TV and missed the highlight of her daughter’s career?!
Ernie had a passion for the University of Michigan; he was ‘true Blue’. I watched games with him at the Ann Arbor stadium and on TV. Whenever Michigan got in the Rose Bowl, Ernie and Marion hosted a party at their home. Ernie would have every television set in the house tuned to the game; he would pace from room to room to see his beloved Wolverines. If any play went against the Maize & Blue, he would go to the other set, just in case the play was better on that set?!
Ernie conducted the Marching Band at the stadium. Ernie was an accomplished and inspiring conductor; “Hail to the Victors” never sounded better than under his baton. His love of music was sincere and he personally knew many performers. Frank Sinatra would personally welcome and wave to Ernie from the stage. Ernie regarded Victor Borge as a friend. Ernie was remarkable in every way; I admired him greatly and I think the feeling was mutual. We had wonderful times together.
Marie & John
Other wonderful times were had on Harsens Island with our dear friends Marie and John Eidt. Both were teachers in Detroit; now retired. For the past forty years we have had many adventures together; on the island and elsewhere. When Agnes and I were working, like us, they kept their cottage open through the winter as their getaway. The winters presented real challenges and the summers were magical. Many memories and too much fun; isn’t that what friendships are about? You learn from one another; you share and you enjoy; certainly, we did.
In the village of Sans Souci, the bar was the social center of island life; you could start your morning with breakfast right thru the day to dinner. The real purpose was not eating but drinking; many a festive party was held with the bar festively decorated, as were people. On one Halloween Party, a local turned up dressed as a duck blind, most appropriate for Harsens, surrounded by marshes. Unfortunately, he was also smoking and, predictably, the blind caught fire and went up in flames. The fire was doused with a pitcher of beer and the party went on! Located on the freighter channel, the bar was a popular place; year round native Canadians came across the river from the Indian Reservation. The liquor store sold more beer than any other place in the state; most of the beer ended up across in Ontario, on the Walpole Island Reservation.
Another eating place was “The Boat” which was just that; a large old cruise boat, tie up at the Algonac ferry landing. Converted to a restaurant, on the water, with distinctive old interiors, “The Boat” was popular; on one occasion, Marie and John Eidt went with us for dinner with my mother. Milla and Agnes like red wine; we ordered a bottle that came chilled. Mother commented she preferred her red wine at room temperature; the waitress overheard, saying, “OK, dearie, I’ll get you warm wine”. She returned within minutes, opened the bottle and, triumphantly, poured a glass of steaming, bubbling wine! We asked what she had done. The waitress replied, “I zapped it in the micro wave!” Ah well, the island life; that restaurant soon closed. Ironically, years later, Agnes and I saw the old boat stuck in a lock at Lake Okeechobee; the rusty tub was on the way to Hollywood. That is the one in Florida; where she was tied up, rusting away.
Marie Eidt will always remember the cruise with my mother to the nearby Gull Island. John had anchored their 1940 Chris Craft in the shallow water off the small island. We were going to wade ashore; Milla decided to come, taking off her nylons and tucking up her dress. The rest of us were in swim suits; Agnes and I helped her off the boat; mother waded to the beach, grasping her handbag with pocket book. She never went anywhere without her handbag, so there she was on a deserted island, clambering over tree roots and rocks; fiercely clasping that handbag! Of course, we had many boating adventures; from the annual firework display to anchoring out in the marshes. Another tradition was to run alongside freighters and throw beer to the crew through an open hatch. Fishing was a delight, for in those years, the walleye and perch were plentiful; we would catch, clean and cook. Happy Island Days!
Many of our friends visited us on the island; as did our son Chuck and daughter Annie. During those years, John was in high school and came out to Harsens Island with us every weekend; he was my constant companion and friend. We had such fun together; many cherished memories.
To write more is difficult, as the memories are those, cherished and personal? However, I will mention a few fun stories involving friends. Ray Fleming was, and is, a dear friend; he visited the island often, he loved to fish, not so much catching the fish as holding the rod. Ray did not like to either put the worm on or take the fish off; he liked fishing. He would stop by the bait shop to get his worms from Mrs. Cummings; she always wore curlers. Ray was convinced her hair was always wet because she swam under the boats removing the worms that she sold him; he was always losing worms! On another occasion, back on the mainland, Bob Kidd was giving Ray a special party; he asked us to help make this a surprise. I concocted this falsehood about a distinguished visiting critic who wanted to write an article on the Kidd Gallery. Of course, as director, Ray was delighted; I said the critic’s name was Sir Julian Slattherwhaite from England. We were to meet this fictitious being at a restaurant; Agnes and I picked up Ray who was doing his best to get the name pronounced properly. He was obsessed; still muttering as we entered the restaurant, where his friends stood singing “Happy Birthday”! To this day, he mutters about that deception. One day, our youngest grandchild saw Ray drinking Cranberry juice; from that day onward, she wanted ‘ray juice’. He still is known as “Uncle Rayjuice”!
Tony Jones and I share much; we were born and educated in Wales. We greet one another “Boyo”, slang term for buddy. We both became college presidents and close friends. I first Tony at New Orleans in 1969; I was lecturing at Loyola University where Tony was teaching. I am ten years older, the fact of which he constantly reminds me and everyone else; he actually persuaded some that I was his uncle! Anyway, he knew of my reputation in Wales; we went to a bar, then on to the Playboy Club. We have a wonderful relationship ever since; professionally and personally. Professor Anthony Jones has had a distinguished career, including having served as Director of the Glasgow School of Art; Rector of the Royal College of Art; and President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has authored books and lectured extensively; once we did a joint presentation in Los Angeles on Eliel Saarinen and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Rather ironic that he and I ended up heading and restoring institutions designed by architects who shared a philosophy of ‘totality of design’. Tony and I have done much together; Agnes and I always enjoy our times together with him and his wife, the photographer Patty Carroll. In the summer of 2001, they visited with us on Shelter Island, NY; at that time, Agnes and I were still cruising. Tony asked what our plans were and we replied that we had rented a slip for a year at Miami Beach. “Why would you do that?” he asked, “You just as well rent an apartment if you are no longer cruising.” After a fun weekend, Patty and Tony left; we began to think and realized Tony was right. That week, we flew to Florida and rented an apartment in Clearwater; we contacted Dayton Trubee in Annapolis and he agreed to buy the boat back from us. Our cruising days were over; we phoned Tony, who was flabbergasted, “Bloody hell, you did all that in less than a week; are you sure?” We were and never have had a moment of regret over that decision; we are grateful to Tony to this day. Isn’t that what friends are for: to talk things over; to have fun; to share laughter, life and love?
We have new friends here on the Gulf; our closest are from Michigan: Sharron and Lawrny Steiner, who created this website, and our fellow boater Skip Hogan. Lots of boating; so many laughs; fun in the sun, what could be better! The artists, Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse have their studio nearby; I have known Bob for 40 years. Nancy and George Ellis also live in St Petersburg and we visit often; George was director of the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Other retired museum directors live in Sarasota; including our friends Ruth and Andy Maass. However, life on the Gulf is another chapter in our lives; coming after our cruising years. I have been writing here about my early life and professional career; particularly the Corcoran and Cranbrook.
I could go on and on writing about friends. Enough is enough; many memories, many friends: Michael & Val; Nancy and Elmer; Mick; Ricky; Margaret & Eric; Billy; Mary & Ron; Janet & Ron; Linda & John; Jill & Aris; John & Kathy; Roberta; Bob; Shirley & Frank; Gil & Lila; Liz & Eliot; Elliott & Robin; Alicia; Addice & Peter; Bill & Sandy; Sylvia & Gunnar; Lillian Z; Susan L; Bob & Jan; Heather & Ron; Trevor & Harri; Trevor S; Margot & Warren; Janos & Diana; Dianne; Jan & Jim; Sally & Bill; Phebe & Sid; Pat & Jan; Ginger & David; Graham and Nancy; Sam & Beth; Hugh; Chuck & Emily; Margo & Bruce; Alex & Kathryn; Mimi; Marti; Claudia & Ed; Cynthia & Tony; Ken; Phyllis; Meryle & Tom; Elliott & Patti; the list goes and on…