Mixed Memories

My brother-in-law Ken once told me about his friend and his memories. Let’s call this friend Buddy.  Buddy and his parents were together for the holidays once and his mother mentioned an important event in Buddy’s life. Buddy had no memory of it, but it did bring to his mind something he thought was important. Neither of his parents had any memory of it. With the important memories of the parents not even being remembered by Buddy, and vice versa, they spent the rest of the evening seeing if the really important memories of one person were remembered at all by the other. There was no overlap.

I thought this so interesting. It meant parents were working so hard to instill lessons in their childrens’ lives and yet these “lessons” completely blew by the children and it was the unimportant and unremembered moments of a parent’s acts that really stuck with the sons and daughters.

Recently I asked a childhood friend if he remembered, “that bare wire incident that’s so vivid in my memory (room was dark, you were near the train model in the NE corner of the basement, you were sitting on the floor).” He had an electric cord that he plugged into the wall but it ended with bare wires. I was worried at the time that he’d electrocute himself, and indeed he touched a toolbox with the wires, it sparked, and blew a fuse. Not surprisingly, he had no memory of it.

But this got me thinking, I should try this little experiment with my sons during the coming holidays and ask them what they remember as a big deal and tell them what I remember. It could be more fun than playing Risk, or Settlers of Catan!

Stewart the Public Artist

One of the most important and fun events of my summer was my son, Stewart Losee, coming to town and installing his new art piece, as part of a public art grant that he and a few others won.

KC Star Interview

Stewart with the KC Star reporter getting a sidewalk interview.

I was his assistant installing for 12 hours one day and another 8 hours a few days later. It was both exhausting, especially in these 100° days, and rewarding to help my son complete a major showing in his career.

KC is a big art town with one of the country’s better art schools, Stewart’s alma mater The Kansas City Art Institute, so these public art works get in the news. He was interviewed by the reporter on the sidewalk (see the Kansas City Star article) as he was scoping out the scene.

As part of his grant, and because of his own interest, Stewart built his own computer controlled router from the frame. He fabricated the pieces in New York and brought them out to KC. In the mean time a printer in KC printed his triangular plastic images and cut them out on a $2 million machine which was really a complicated X-Acto blade.

Assembling on Back Fence

Stewart assembling on the back fence.

Since his design could be configured in many ways, he started putting it together after seeing the conference center. Assembly was in the late cool(er) evenings. My back fence became an alien art show with neighbors pointing out the strange design to their young children. Unfortunately the images were just a tiny-weenie bit too big. Hours of trimming ensued.

The big twelve-hour day saw three of us (a shout out to Tim for helping) moving the assembly back to the site, more trimming, and the biggest challenge of all: lifting this now heavy beast up onto the wall of the downtown conference center. Three of us barely got the job done.

Stewart With his Former Faculty Adviser

Stewart with his former faculty adviser.

Shortly afterwards there was the party and presentation of grant winners up the block at the Folly Theater. It was a great dad moment to see my son as the youngest grant winner, him showing his former art faculty adviser his latest work, and overhearing her say she could see how he was continuing directions he’d started back in the art school. Maybe all that tuition was worth it!

He’s at stewartlosee.com.