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The Laundry Hanging in the Basement

oil on linen
33″ x 43″

After my mother died, my father remarried and we moved to a new house.

The new house was large compared to the little house I had lived in with my mother.

I was put on the third floor. When I wasn’t up there I spent time in the basement. It was a different world down there all damp and dark and underground.

There were special things down there like the cedar chest of my mother’s and a heavy wooden and glass china cabinet with some things from my maternal grandmother, Anna, and some of my mother’s wedding presents.

The basement was a place that is where I thought I belonged.

Judy's with Pink Dress

24” x 29”

Ann Wolken - Taking the Boat Out of the Oven

oil on linen
24″ x 34″

Once I had a dream that I had a cat that I loved very much. I put it in the oven and cooked it.

Then I woke up.

I have thought about this dream a lot because I was so sorry that I had done that to the cat.

I wanted to open the oven door, check on the cat, and say, “Look cat, I am sorry that I left you here for so long. You’re still my cat. Finally I’m going to take you from the oven!

Sleeping Near the Ocean

oil on linen
27” x 37”

My Studio

24” x 29”

Birthday Party with the Reliance

oil on linen
36” x 48”

Judy’s with Shadow

24” x 29”

Mara's Pie Shop

oil on paint board
27″ x 23″

I brought Cassie a single brownie when I came back from New York.
I had considered bringing her a chocolate cake, but I didn’t see how I could manage it on the plane, what with two portfolios and a luggage cart the didn’t work very well. The cake would get squashed so I settled for a brownie. I could have gotten more, but I wasn’t sure how good they were.
Yesterday, when we were buying coffee for Jeff at Starbucks, I got Cassie another brownie.
I asked, “Is this brownie as good as the one I brought you from William Greenberg’s Desserts?”
“It’s better,” she said, “more chocolate and fresher.”
“I wondered about that brownie,” I confessed.
“It was sweet of you, though,” she said.

Digging for Ancestors

oil on linen
24″ x 34″

I come from a line on my mother’s side of mothers that have died young, my mother at twenty-nine and her mother at fifty-three.

Since I am a mother myself this pattern worries me.

When my grandmother Anna died, my mother was eighteen and in her first year of college at Carnegie Tech. That was during the war years.

I have gotten to mourn for her and for myself too in a kind of double mourning.

Female Identity

oil on linen
34″ x 24″

When my mother died I never knew because children where not allowed in hospitals.
My father came home one day and started to cry hard.
Then grandma came over after the funeral and washed her hands.
I didn’t cry because I didn’t know. I thought she would come back.
All my life a part of me has waited for her to come back.

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