Daily Archives: December 20, 2009

He painted clothespin men…

I’ve written a bit about Jeremy here and there. We met on a student exchange. He lived in Yorkshire and I lived in Illinois. We were friends for several years and even talked of marrying someday. We visited back and forth for several years.

On one of his visits to Elgin we picked up a clothespin ornament kit from Lee Wards. It held paint, a paintbrush, clothespins, glue and felt as well as directions on how to assemble the ornaments. One evening — the evening before he was to go back to England — we assembled the ornaments.

Now if it were me, I would have made the faces basic. Two dots for the eyes, one dot for the nose and a curved line for the mouth. Not Jeremy. He was an artist. He gave the faces large, expressive eyes. He gave the faces freckles and cheekbones that blushed. He made even added knees to some of the ornaments. Arms occasionally wore wristwatches.

Being the not-an-artist of the pair I was assigned the task of gluing the felt clothes to the clothespin people — which turned out to be quite fun. We pretty much stayed up all night, but the results were awesome.

Jeremy fashioned several of the clothespin people after people in his life. Strangely, I was not turned into a clothespin person. Nor was my mom. But the rest of the family was as was his family. A couple times over.

He made a nurse that actually does look like his mom and a doctor that looked like his dad. His dad was also the hiker and I think Mrs. Claus was his mom. He made a policeman that could have been his brother Nick who was trying to become a British Constable. He made a cowboy that looked like my cousin Bob who was living with us at the time and who made our life a little hellish at times. He made a boy scout for my brother Kevin and a sailor for my dad. And no relation, but a common interest — the lumberjack held a bra (it since has been mostly lost).

A couple of years ago, after a decade or two of hinting, my mom finally gave me the ornaments and yesterday I put them on the tree.

The video below is about the artist L. S. Lowrey — an artist Jeremy introduced me to. The song was popular back then. Whenever I think about my clothespin men and women I think about this song.