{old friends. new friends. forever friends.}

My grandparents spent a lot of time encouraging me in art as a kid.  They taught me how to paint and draw.  And my grandmother was a fabulously fun sewer as well, although she never taught me anything about sewing.  I wasn't interested then.  One of their good friends in Roseville (near where we spent our vacation recently) was Leslie and Velma Cope.  Leslie was a fabulous artist.  

Growing up, we always had a lot of art in our house.  I still do in my own house.  But we had quite a few pieces that Leslie had made.  He painted a lot of farm scenes that take me immediately back to those days at my grandparents house.  So when we were on our vacation, I wanted to take my girls over to the see the Leslie Cope Gallery and learn more about some of the art we have in our own house and show them some of my past.  When we got there, we were greeted by Leslies stepdaughter who was a joy.  (Leslie passed away 10 years ago).  She remembered my grandparents and went to get her mother, Leslies wife, Velma, who of course remembered my grandparents as they had been good friends and she remembered...me.  I probably last saw her more than 20 years ago.  But she hugged me, and grabbed my face, and told me she sure missed my grandmother.  Which made me cry.  Because I miss her too.

Velma took us upstairs to Leslies studio room which isn't part of the public gallery.  When I walked in I was hit so hard with a feeling a deja vu.  See those windows up there?  All that light?  And the easels?  I remember exactly THIS from when I was a kid because my grandmother would take me over to the Copes and take me up to this room to see what he was working on and give me a lesson or two.  

Velma showed us her gardens out back and took us to her private residence.  And talked to us.  And watched the kids dance around.  She asked the girls lots of questions.  She told me stories about my grandmother and their group of girlfriends they hung around.  She told me how happy she was that I stopped by and brought my children to see Leslie's art.  Touching that part of my past that day meant so much to me.  I can't even really put it into words.  It was like having a bit of my grandparents back with me for a moment.  I honestly can only think of one other friend of my grandparents that I know that is still living.  That connection disappearing is painful.

It was probably one of the highlights of the trip for me.  I was really drained afterwards.  Just emotional.  We drove back into town and stopped by a new artist friends studio, Alan Cottrill.

Alan is a sculptor and I had read that he had an open working studio.  We stopped in and had the pleasure of meeting Alan.  He was fabulous to talk to and he really inspired our girls.  He gave them each some clay and told them about the process for what he was working on.  The girls were really impressed with his apprentice.  She was a 4-H'er and the girls thought that was really cool!  I think we hung out with him for over an hour just chatting and looking at all of his work.  It was a great stop on our trip and I know we will be back to visit with Alan when we can.

Old friends.  New friends.  Forever friends.  Life isn't about fancy expensive vacations and filling up our lives with "stuff".  It's about relationships.  And connections.  And moments that are meaningful and touch your heart.  Our vacation was filled with those and for that, I am so thankful.