The year is 1978. I'm still married. To my second husband. But not for long. My daughter is 2. My son is 11. I am the central figure in a very large painting by Charles Munch entitled 6 Women.
I am lying in the basic Venus position on a bench, although I do not resemble Venus in the least. Far too skinny. My friend Mary is the figure to the far right. My dear friend Marion, who, if she still lives, is nearing 100 by now, is lying on the floor. I can't remember the name of the woman to the left, but I do remember her. I can see her smiling. My friend Sue, who worked at the tree nursery with me, is there. Sue painted incredibly beautiful flowers. Ice cream colored flowers, I called them in a poem I wrote for her. I think that's Charles' wife bending over in front of me, grabbing her ankle. We're all nude.
I remember posing for this picture. Charles made me assume this pose on a hard bench. No, I couldn't have anything soft underneath me because it would throw the balance of the pose off just ever so much. My elbow is resting on the hard bench. It hurt.
Charles won the top money prize at Wisconsin '78 for this painting, for which I have the brochure with a b&w photo of the painting on the opening page. A statement by the Juror, one Ellen Lanyon, painter, of Chicago and New York, says:
Realism, surrealism, mysticism, fantasism, cubism, color conceptualism, constructivism, non-objectivism, opism, popism, optimism and narration...
What! Not Narrism? Can't remember another such string of isms in one place. She is
impressed with the impact of the environment, myth and the desire to communicate a sense of place or state of condition in most of the works.
Mary is the only one with whom I am still in touch. Back in the 70's, we were the radical women of Door County. We comprised the local chapter of N.O.W. Some of us founded the Sturgeon Bay Whole Foods Co-op. We went on local radio and had community picnics celebrating women's history days. I never see these people anymore. I am happy to know we are all still together somewhere.