Values and Determining The True Cost of Art in 2020 and Beyond

Going through what Gianna calls the “storage room”, and it’s actually not a storage room. Just where everything since my Divorce has gotten put – you know, to be dealt with when “I have time.” Thanks to Covid, I have time. I am coughing and I can’t breath very well, and every day when I look in the mirror I have to look myself in the eye and say what happened ? Why didn’t you do what you were supposed to do ?

I don’t have that answer.

I do have beautiful pictures. And wonderful memories.

This is from the Halloween Parade in Ambridge, Pennsylvania when we were little, you know, 40 years ago. I remember when the air would turn, and the leaves would be on the ground, that was when we would go to the fabric store and pick out the patterns for our costumes.

We would go to Mass on Saturday night, and then My Zizi AnnaMarie would take my Nonna, my sister and I to the fabric store at Northern Lights, where Walmart is now, and we would sit at the table in the back and look at the patterns, and then go run our hands over all of the shiny bolts on the rounders, and then pick the fabrics that we wanted. Then Nonna would go to the counter and tell the person behind the counter exactly what she wanted, just like she did when we went to the Strip District. She told the persons at the Strip District exactly what she wanted, and they obliged. I watched Nonna carefully as she did this, because she was firm, yet graceful, and she knew exactly what she wanted when she asked, and she got what she asked for every time. She treated the workers with respect, and they treated her kindly in return.

We actually went to the fabric store several times a year as our dresses for Christmas and Easter were all made by Nonna, and everytime I sang on stage, Nonna made that dress, too, unless it was being costumed. Me, I thought everyone had a Nonna that made their clothes for them, and I thought everyone went to the fabric store and learned how to ask for what they wanted as I was shown. When I went to college, I went through a major culture shock, as I started to see the world outside of Ambridge, and that no, not everyone had a close family, and that no, not everyone was raised as I was raised.

These costumes, the witch costumes, are just one of many that were made over the years. My favorite is the Chiquita Banana costume. Maybe I will find a picture of that one, and maybe I will find a picture of my sister’s costume when she went as Scarlett O’Hara, complete with the hoop skirts.

We are blessed. I am grateful. For having worked at the fabric store at which I grew up learning so many important lessons, I am grateful, as it taught me that art is not free. That was a hard lesson, that I badly, I sorely, I needed to learn.

It is a lesson that many need to learn.

Here is looking forward to Halloween and Christmas and many more Holiday Seasons to come. May they be filled with Joy, Peace, Love, Wonderful parades and amazing Fireworks.


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