When I was 55, I decided to embrace the things I love and hold precious and dear - regardless of anyone else's thoughts and opinion. I am a folk artist who loves flowers - my own flowers, grown by me. I love good, hearty, exotic foods, and I love to prepare them myself. I love the secret garden situated in my backyard, regardless of how junky it gets. No longer able to afford a vacation, this will have to be it for the time being. In the winter months, I still enjoy it. Anyway, here I am sharing my art, favorite recipes, cocktails, gardening tips, and just my usual vents and bantering. After all, I'm old enough to say whatever the heck I want to now ...
Oh, the two pictures below are NOT of my garden, although the one with the pink French doors looks very much like the backyard I grew up with. I am searching for pictures of that wonderful place and will post soon.
A very limited selection of reproductions from my paintings can be found here
May 14, 2017
What REAL Women Did For Each Other
Women's History Month. We all hear the usual stories about
trailblazing women who made history doing something considered
remarkable for her time. This has been a tumultuous time for women
these last few years. Along with all of the protests, marches and
cries for equality, justice and respect, much of our own personal
history has been lost in the shuffle.
about the woman my mother and grandmother raised me to be – Strong,
independent, unwavering, faithful, giving and resilient. They taught
me to have my own; to survive and hopefully to not have to worry
about where my meals will come from when I'm 80. Thus, I fine-tune my
craft on a daily basis, padding my nest, and keeping my eagle eyes
clear. In all of this, I am always of the opinion that we get by
giving, and if possible, never lose sight of love, human kindness and
trust. Yes, these qualities still exist.
"Aunt Mattie Whitfield," by Stacey Torres
Mattie was not my real aunt. She was a very close family friend - an
unlikely friendship that began when my mother was in a deadly car
accident in 1949, traveling from Lincoln University in Jefferson
City, MO to Wilberforce University in Ohio. She and several students
were traveling together when they were involved in the collision on
U.S. 40 between Knightstown, IN and New Castle, IN.
ambulance arrived, they refused to take my mother, the lone survivor,
to the hospital because she was black. As she lay bleeding on the
street, a local funeral home offered to transport her to the (Henry
County) hospital in their hearse. Because her family lived a great
distance away in Canada, my mother was alone in a hospital in a small
town where she knew no one -- and where she ultimately knew from
experience, that the color of her skin would alienate her
It was then that she met Mattie Whitfield, an older
local African American woman who sometimes went to the hospital to
volunteer. She would sit with patients, read to them or pray with
them. It was just something she liked to do. Upon learning there was
a young black girl there with no family, she immediately took it upon
herself to take my mother under her wing. In time, she came to love
and care for her until she was healed, and the family could get to
Indiana. At the time, my grandfather worked as a porter for the
Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railroads. They governed when
he could take time off and when he and the family could travel by
rail outside of Canada. There were no other options.
mother was well enough to leave the hospital, Mattie and her husband,
Herbie, took her home with them where they cared for her further.
They lived in a small white house on South 16th Street by
the railroad tracks. Finally, the family (my grandparents, two aunts
and an uncle) arrived from Canada, and they were embraced by the
Whitfields as well. All of them lived together in their 2-bedroom
home for an additional 6 weeks while Mom continued to recover. They
all worked together to give her their own form of old fashioned
natural “physical therapy” that included salves, massages, prayer
and careful exercise.
This is what strong, clear-thinking
giving women did for each other. I say “women,” because even
though Uncle Herbie was crucial in opening his home too, knowing the
woman that Mrs. Whitfield was, she would have reached out and cared
for my mother – or anyone – whether she knew them or not. Because
that's the quality of humanity she possessed. She had no fear, no
boundaries, no limits; just an abundance of love, compassion and
patience. During this time, in that cramped love-filled house, they
all became “family,” bridging the gap between Indiana and Canada.
Mattie became "Aunt Mattie," and she was a very integral
part of our lives for the next 20 years. But, that's another story
and another painting altogether.
At my parents' wedding (Queens, NY) in 1952, Aunt Mattie is seen in the distance - She was an honored guest.