Letters To Timmy


I’ve produced several pieces of art in the last few weeks, but again none that you would ever see hanging in a museum, or even a local gallery. Despite many promises to myself to return to the oil painting I love so much, I find myself drawn back to creating for those I love in my life, particularly my grandson Timmy. Life throws us all some curve-balls, unexpected losses and gains (though it seems most of the time its losses!), we learn to cope the best we can and to adjust to life as it is. For me it is that careers have taken my daughter, her husband, her son, and her soon to be born daughter to the other side of the country. Life has also moved my son to Los Angeles, roughly 85 miles from me, although if you are familiar with LA traffic you might understand when I say sometimes a flight to NY would be quicker. I am grateful for the modern conveniences of social media. Thanks to cell phones, iPad, and my desktop computer, I am able to talk, text, Face Time, Skype, and email to my heart’s content. Despite all of that I miss the face to face time, the hugs and kisses, and the pleasure of holding my grandson on my lap.

When my kids were growing up I made it a daily habit to include notes in their school lunches, creating characters just for them so that they knew I was always thinking about them. Several months ago I decided to connect with Timmy in much the same way through snail mail. I began to write him short notes, always asking Grandpa to add his own thoughts as well, and then illustrating not just the card but the envelope as well. I decided after my last visit to NY to make Timmy a box to keep his letters in. We visited one of the local antique stores looking for the perfect box, but instead found a little brown suitcase that had seen better days. It couldn’t have been more perfect. I repainted the suitcase a bright and cheery red, searched for images of vintage travel stickers of places that Timmy has been, has family living in, and a couple just for fun. I made one of one of my “Timmy” cards to personalize it. I refurbished the inside as well, using Mod Podge and tissue paper, which looks like lacquer when dry. I also added a little cork board for when he is old enough to safely pin a few things to. Of course me being me I have to go a step further, I bought him a mailbox at the craft store. Personalizing once again to make it special for Timmy (There is also a pink one waiting anxiously for his sister). One of these days I will actually pick up that palette and brush again, but for now I’m happy to send a little love across country.


Since I began writing the blog above I have begun the long overdue task of sorting through the boxes of my dad’s papers and photographs. It has been more than two years since he passed, and Saturday was the tenth anniversary of my Mom’s passing. While I am still grateful for what modern technology can do to keep me in touch with family, I found myself moved by looking through the papers and letters that were in dad’s boxes. My grandparents were in Ireland, they didn’t have the connections that I have. They had to wait for a cherished letter or photograph to know how their son, their daughter, and their four granddaughters were doing. Phone calls were possible but expensive. Those words written on paper were the connection of a family that was far apart. Loving words preserved, glimpses of a life since past, gifts for me, my sisters, our children and theirs. The memory of phone calls fade, Face Time is in the moment, and although an email is I guess the modern letter, and I suppose you could save the file, I wouldn’t trade these faded papers with my grandmother’s signature, my dad’s life story written by his own hand, or my mother’s profession of love to our dad in an old anniversary card for anything. I am hoping that someday long after I’m gone that Timmy and his sister will be able to look back and their grandmother’s funny little drawings, to read my words, and know just how much I love them.

Timmy plane

copyright symbolTimmy Mail, and all images created by Jacqueline Zuckerman contained in this post.



Do You Really “Like” Me?

My husband writes a blog, its nothing like mine, he wouldn’t consider himself an artist, but I think he is wonderfully creative in many ways. One of which is that he is a good writer. We had a conversation the other day about our respective blogs. I write every day, he writes when the mood strikes. We are both very curious about something. When we write about something serious, something that we feel is important in our little part of the world, we get maybe one, maybe two “likes”. When we write something that we feel isn’t up to par, our “likes” go through the roof. ??????  We are puzzled. If it happened to one of us then we might reason that what we feel is our better writing is crap, and in this apparently alternate universe we reside in, our not so good stuff is stellar. However, it is happening to both of us, and our blogs couldn’t be more different, in content, in writing style, and quite frankly, mine has more pretty pictures than his. (He occasionally posts a photo.) I wrote a post the other evening about hearing my couch call to me. It is one of the highest amount of “likes” I’ve received. I was a little delirious with pain at the time, and I think my writing reflected that. Now my brain hurts. Do I write better when in pain? Will you “like” me if I stub my toe before I blog?  I know it can’t have been the artwork from that night. It wasn’t my best, and actually since this started out as a blog about my art as well as my life, I’d be horrified if you thought that was my best. I believe that I have produced some really nice pieces in the last few months with not a lot of feedback. My son said something last week (in his superior “I’m younger and smarter than you” best), he said that he thinks people who write blogs are self-serving. (He has his moments as a compassionate and understanding human being, this was obviously not one of them.) I think he’s just pissed that I started one first. (Just like the tattoo story…another time.) I explained to him that I started this blog because of the 365 project. I was hoping it would change my life, and it has. I also knew that I never do anything for myself, and would continue to ignore myself, and to feed my “not good enough self” that lives in the recesses of my brain unless I made it impossible to quit. The blog was born. As I explained the other night, I’d feel too guilty if I didn’t follow through. (Thank you Sr. Rose Vincent, Sr. Therese Angela, Sr. Aloysius, and all the other nuns who participated in my “guilt” education, and of course an honorable mention to my parents.) I wasn’t looking for accolades when I started this, I was looking for pressure. I succeeded beyond my wildest imagination.  I feel like I’m back in high school and I want people to like me, gross. When I was in high school I never cared if anyone liked me. So I find myself at odds with myself. I have to admit it, I want you to like the art, it means a lot to me, and I hope you enjoy my ramblings, as for me personally….

For tonight another piece of pen and ink for my upcoming endeavor.

P.S. The couch says “Hello”.9 30