The Boy Behind the Glasses


For those of you who have read my Big Brother blog, I thought I might tell you a little about the boy in my painting.  The thick lenses of his wire framed glasses tell you a lot.  Mark as a little boy and throughout his life had eye problems.  So much so that he had trouble reading when he was young causing him to have to wear his coke bottle lenses starting at the young age of four.  Even though he was challenged visually he ended up serving our country in the Army and working for the Denver Post newspaper for many years. 

When it came to me, the guy that married his niece, you might say Mark was blind! :-)  He was always 100% behind me, even when I had no clue what I wanted to do in life.  His glasses were always rose colored when it came to me and for that I will always be grateful. 

In 1980, I was newly married and had my Fine Arts/Studio Art degree.  I couldn’t get a job in graphics art because I didn’t graduate in Graphics Art.  I drove all around the DC area looking for an art job and couldn’t get one.  Then I took a bookkeeping job for a commercial real estate developer in which my dad said to me “Are you sure you’re going to be happy?”  I wasn’t. 

I worked there for several years.  I took a temporary landscaping job working for a friend after I quit the bookkeeping job to hold me over until we could move to San Diego for me to go to the San Diego golf academy.  I thought if I’m going to work for the rest of my life I might as well do something that I enjoy (golf).

We packed up our large Ryder truck, towing our car and the two of us and our shih-tzu headed west.  First stop Uncle Mark’s in Denver, Colorado. 

So there I was on a starry Denver night, standing in U. Mark’s doorway after coming back from visiting some family friends, getting ready to say goodbye and move on westward. I was married and unemployed, with no job prospects, heading west to pursue a pipe dream of becoming a golf pro or do something in the golf industry.  U. Mark put his arm around me and said “Bill, I’m just so proud of you!” 

I couldn’t believe he was looking at me that way.  I will never forget and always appreciate his words.  He thought I was going to be the next Jack Nicklaus!

When we later uprooted and decided to move to Maine for me to become a full-time artist, Mark reacted the same way.  He had his home filled with my limited edition prints.  He framed every one with double mats and hung them proudly. 

Here are a few treasured pictures of our Uncle Mark in our home in Maine.  After following his niece and nephew-in-law for years, seeing me finally successful as an artist, he couldn’t have been happier for us.

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Here is another beautiful picture of Mark with his little sister Joni some 60 years after the photo of the two of them was taken. 

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We miss you Uncle Mark!