If you asked me what was my earliest
childhood memory, there might be two events vying for first. One would
be the birth of my baby brother, Jim. The second would be a visit to my
Uncle Irving's home in Upstate New York.
It's not that I
remember my Uncle Irving. I really don't. I was probably 4 years old
at the time of the visit. And Irving was actually my Dad's uncle -- an
old man by then, being the oldest of 3 brothers (Walter -- an WWI
invalid, and my grandfather, Elmer, being the other two).
have distinct memories of Irving's New York house. More precisely, I
remember his basement painting studio. Open rail stair case leading
down. Dark to the right. Lighted to the left with easel, workbench,
and paints. The smell of linseed oil and turpentine. Oh, the smells.
Canvases leaning low against the walls or laying flat on tables. A
dirty, clouded glass door at the end of the small room leading out to an
unkempt meadow. From the cool of the basement, I could see dragonflies
buzzing about on that hot summer day.
I don't know what Irving
did for a living. Whatever it was, it never stopped him from painting.
He was prolific. Many of his paintings still warm the walls of Bauman
family homes. The harbor scene -- dated 1911 -- is on my living room
The romantic me -- which is, admittedly, a too big part
of me -- has always been fascinated with painting. Fortunately, pottery
took me away from it. But I've dabbled around the edges of expression
with a brush and color. And that's what my newest explorations have
allowed me. Painted mugs.