the storytelling of art

In middle school, the subject of history was neither dry nor boring as I spent a few years living in New England and for a time in a pre-French & Indian Wars-era colonial home. Browsing through antique shops and flea markets in the 1970s, my family had a penchant for collecting random things that were interesting. Whether it was sifting through dirt to recover old medicine bottles and inkwells, engaging with an old Scout master (one of the founders of Scouting in New England) who started me collecting postage stamps, or discussing for hours, gems and minerals an older lady had retrieved on her travels (she started my interest in rocks and minerals), each had engaged me with stories. Years listening to my grandmother and great aunts family history, seeing some of their heirlooms, and then having the opportunity to see actual records, that matched their stories, and visit the places they described added context. In the Navy, I deployed all over the world. But as the years pass turn into decades, from time to time it is valuable (to aid my recollection) to look at them again.

  • A painting my late mother had hanging in our home for fifty years is signed by a Parisian artist
  • A lithograph signed by (living) artist my wife and I visited on a date to Laguna Beach – we do not go on more dates to his studio as a result
  • An early Twentieth Century Bentwood rocker from the New England studio home (it had briefly been my childhood home) of a Nineteeth Century muralist
  • A vase that belonged to my maternal grandmother’s grandmother has been carefully stored for forty years
  • A button from a Naples maritime officer I chatted with during a port visit 30 years ago
  • Bulgarian currency from our visit on the Black Sea- a first US vessel to visit since before the Cold War
  • uncirculated postage stamps representing the chaplains who sacrificed themselves for others to survive during WWII
  • original Navy ballcap issued to me in 1991. My first ship, I deployed to Central, South America and Canada. it was decommissioned two years later
  • A Russian nesting doll from the Soviet era

A visit with Paws for Purple Hearts

Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy

One of the tenets of military service is from the battlefield. “Leave no one behind”. As a veteran, I believe that extends to those who have come home with physical and emotional wounds. Statistics from the VA, state that up to 30 per cent of Vietnam Veterans have experienced Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) in their lifetime, and from 11 to 20 percent of Gulf War and Iraq-Afghanistan veterans have PTSD in any given year. More than 400,000 veterans have had at least one Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). For the last few decades transformative support has grown through individuals and groups who help veterans adjust to life with these cognitive conditions, trauma from sexual violence and harassment, loss of limbs or other injuries suffered in the line of duty.

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