unexpected memories of childhood past


I saw the notice of a house sale on a Facebook yard sale group page for West Chester. What caught my eye was the print above.

The subject is now a man not far from my age named Mark. They were done by his late father when we were all kids in Society Hill.   It’s a set of four originally, there were three available.

The artist was Harry Niblock. He and his former wife also a tremendous artist, Margery Niblock, were dear friends of my parents and Margery is still a friend of mine. Our whole family has pieces of their art, and a lot of memories attached to the art especially because as a child I remember when a lot of it was actually created which is really cool.

So I went to the sale. What I wasn’t expecting is I would know the person whose house was having a house sale. She wasn’t there, but she was a woman I knew from the time I was a little girl. 

This lady was widowed twice. Her first husband I knew as a little girl and her second husband I also knew for a lot longer, because he had been married to one of my mother’s closest and best  friends and my mother had introduced the lady and this gentleman when they were both widowed. They subsequently married and he died.

So walking around the sale was a little emotionally loaded. I saw items from the households of two different couples, and their years together. I think what really upset me the most was the fact that there were items that belong to the second husband’s army career. Even a baby picture of the son, his namesake.


 Seeing his various stages of career Army uniform is hanging on a rolling rack actually brought tears to my eyes and upset me. This man did some time in Vietnam. A couple of tours my mother said, and she also said she only ever remembers him talking about it twice. Ever. He was a great guy, a true soldier who loved his family too. I have really fond memories of him.


So I bought some things, namely Harry’s prints and one of Margery’s I didn’t have but remembered fondly. The Margery Niblock prints for sale or the series of prints her friends received every year in lieu of a Christmas card for years. I have quite a few framed and hanging on my own walls. I don’t know how valuable they are, but they are extraordinarily sentimental. Margery taught me as a girl to do linoleum and wood block.

Now I’m sitting in my car before I go home writing this down because it was  almost a surreal experience.  Flashback memories of two different families and my own childhood.
I hope the lady who is moving enjoys her new home. What a morning for memories.

it’s a pear thing

Yes, in my garden menagerie inherited from previous owners are also a couple of pear trees.  I am really frustrated right now because I need one of those picking poles (don’t knopw what else to call them).  At the tippy top of the trees are the best pears.  And I am in a race with birds and bugs to get to them…probably squirrels too.

One summer when I was growing up and I went to Strasbourg, I will never forget the visit to a pear orchard.  There pears were growing into bottles placed at the ends of limbs when the pears were teeny-weeny.  These pears later became an eau du vie Poire William.

Also, my parents had a friend when I was growing up named Harry Niblock.  He was an  artist (he passed away a few years ago) and he loved to paint and draw pears.   Of course the amusing thing about Harry’s pears is they almost reminded you of people when he was finished.  Some (like at left)  were more traditional still lives.  But some of those pears? Odd to say but they were downright sexual in nature.

His ex-wife Margery Niblock is also an artist.  She taught me how to do woodblock and linoleum cutting and printing. I still have the scar on my wrist from when she warned me how to hold my tools when cutting and I did not listen. The mini photo of a woodcut of geraniums is one of her pieces that I actually have – found it at a flea market and it took me back to when I was a kid.  To this day, she is still one of my favorite artists.  If I see her work anywhere, I buy it.  One time when we were little, she used my sister as a model.  My sister was a little thing sitting on the beach playing with my mother’s wide brimmed straw hat and playing in the sand.  And during the holidays, Margie would also create these fabulous Christmas-y wood cuts.

 

 

So I thought of both of them today as I was trying to get a few pears down to photograph and this is the result.

Like I said, it’s a pear thing.  And a memory.