Decision Time – I Found Jackie – My Goal Achieved
Decision time has arrived. I signed up for the classes in Tahoe to sort myself out. So after 3 years I moved out of despair and into undreamed-of solutions. I would run up to Tahoe, take six weeks of classes and teach six weeks of classes. Then back and hangout in LA for a few weeks (no maybe just two weeks) then back up to Tahoe/Carson for more sorting out with my safe group of friends. I now had a connection to a source of wisdom within.
What To Do Now? Decision Time – Move again and where?
My weeks in LA were spent drawing, drawing and more drawing. Oh, I also spent a whole lot of time eating, eating and more eating. Tahoe//Carson had a few good restaurants but LA has a never ending source. My favorite of all times. Canter’s Deli in the Fairfax area. Old world incredible corned beef on rye, with a dill pickle is my absolute favorite. And then I’d buy cakes and treats in the bakery section.
On Saturdays I would go to an offsite branch of UCLA’s art department. Life figure drawing with incredible models. What makes a model incredible? The way they move , and posed their bodies. There’s a rhythm in their movement. It’s like freezing a ballet dancer’s position . Most of all, because many were professional dancers, I’d leave with great drawings. I didn’t really do any painting. But the truth is, painting in oils is my very favorite. I just hated making a mess in the house. So drawing was it.
I spent three years in the Fourth Center with kindred spirits. Everyday felt safe. There were no influencers in my life. I was now completely familiar with Jackie. Spiritually awakened, I loved every minute of everyday. Was it time for the big decision? I wondered, what would happen if I left this safe mountain community permanently? Would I lose myself again? Or could I bring my higher energy to a new business and social community, and be a positive force in a whole new place?
You got it. Time to move on. But where would we go. Al decided to retire from his “national on the road” textile sales career. And since Al couldn’t live in Tahoe or Carson’s elevation, we agreed it had to be closer to sea level. Since I couldn’t breathe in the smog of LA, it had to have fresh air. And we both agreed that very cold weather was not for either of us.
So I put the Carson house up for rent. Looked at a map with Al. and he suggested looking in the Seattle area, where he had some wonderful friends who were customers. Airplane ticket and maps in hand, we flew off to Seattle. I took out a map of the Seattle area and a pin and literally threw it at the map. The pin landed on the City of Redmond, Washington. It was east of Seattle, but Al’s best customer lived in the next town. As the plane flew over Mt. Rainier I saw heaven, and immediately said, “this is perfect. I definitely want to live here.”
We got into our rental car, and on the road to find our new residence. Drove all over Redmond and it did not interest me, at all. There was not one appealing house, downtown area, or shopping. But we kept driving and looking.
Frustrated we decided to head out to Al’s friend. As we were driving, I looked up the hill at a beautiful area that did really did appeal to me. It overlooked a valley, and I wasn’t far off from my Redmond map idea. Right there on the Woodinville-Redmond road was an open house sign. Why not look. The gates to the area read Hollywood Hills. Ironic, that we’re leaving LA right near Hollywood, and we’re looking in Hollywood Hills. Is this a sign?
And of course it was a brand new house, on a horse acre. Yes ir was the perfect house. A wooden footbridge led us to the front door. the house was a Northwest contemporary with 3 bedrooms, a great kitchen and living area with a large deck that was 3 stories high. It was definitely on a hill. On the lower level was an unfinished 1800 sq ft unfinished room with plumbing and another deck. And below that a storage room. Both decks overlooked Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. And that unfinished room could definitely be my art studio. It was so perfect that before nightfall we purchased the house.
Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
What attracted me to Woodville? Although it was in proximity to a large city, Woodville was soooo quaint. The house was one mile from town. There was a stop sign which indicated you’ve arrived. You’re in town, which had a grocery store, a bank, a feed and grain store, an incredible nursery, a restaurant, and a strip joint. That was it. Downtown Woodinville.
Now the project was to sell the adorable little house in LA. When we left Thousand Oaks we purchased this little house in West Los Angeles, built in 1932, and lived in by only one couple. It had stained glass windows in the front, cherub sculptures adorned the ceilings, and hand carved wooden swinging doors between the dining room and kitchen. And for Al, a 48 year old rose garden. It was in a choice location, and we actually sold it in a week.
I knew what I was going to do in Woodinville. You’ve got it. Paint in that incredible studio. And the big question…what was Al going to do in Woodinville, Washington?
Some of Al’s customers, who manufactured bedspreads, convinced him to open a bedspread store. I pleaded with him not to do that. My father was an interior designer, who retired from his incredible job. He opened a drapery store. And as a 14 year old kid who was good at math, I worked in his store, figuring up his custom drapery orders. My Dad was not at all happy with his decision. He continually talked about how difficult it was to own a small retail store.
So I again pleaded with Al not to do the same thing with his retirement money. But I wasn’t able to convince him to do something else. Like maybe buying a small house, renovating it and selling it. Al’s a really handy guy and that would be a perfect thing for him to do as a retired young guy.
Instead, he spent weeks looking for a space to rent. He ultimately rented a store in a brand new and the first discount shopping center in Bellevue, Washington. The anchor tenant was Loehmann’s, a large discount clothing chain. Al’s location was two doors from Loehmann’s. He setup the store as a warehouse, with steel shelves filled with bedspreads, floor to ceiling. He named it Bedspread Warehouse. Of course his fabric customers, from his now retired career, also convinced him to offer custom draperies. So he put up a wall of drapery samples and one of his old customers made his drapery orders. Memories of my father and his drapery store. I shudder when I think of it.
New Art Life
In the meantime I discovered the Bellevue Art Museum, where I volunteered 2 days a week. That immediately introduced me to the local art community. I met a couple of artists who told me about a Saturday life figure drawing group in downtown Seattle. Within a month I was part of the Seattle area art community. After a few months I was actually offered the opportunity to teach life figure drawing in my studio. The Seattle Art School (later to become The Seattle Art Institude) did not offer life drawing classes and referred their students to me. I was able to set up a model and have 12 students in my wonderful studio. I was in heaven and so were the students.
A brief aside….Here I am, a Chicago born and raised woman, with a house in anything but a city. My class is underway and everyone is busy drawing the model when there was a loud bang on the glass doors to the deck. I ran to the doors to discover a cow. Yes a cow! It seems the house at the bottom of the hill had a cow, a pig and some chickens…And there was city born Jackie dragging a cow down the hill. Your cue…vision that’s and it’s time to laugh…End of my aside.
I actually went back on my word from my Evanston Art Fair days, and volunteered to work at the annual outdoor Bellevue Art Fair. I know it was my positive energy that created this incredible new art life.
Then came the phone call from Al. He hated working in the store, and wondered if I would come into the store and help him a couple days a week. Maybe I could do the books or something and be with him in the store.
Why did he hate his store? Here’s a man who travelled the whole country, sold millions of yards of drapery fabric nationally, and he couldn’t believe he just spent over one hour with a customer who couldn’t decide between two twelve dollar throw pillows. So much for his decision to open a store.
And that’s where the next chapter begins…and my big test of living in the world, with no spritual group to support me.