"A MUSEUM!" Dawn blurted
out. "That is what we can do with the old place. A museum in a far out place
on the prairie seemed like such a wonderful idea.”
“It is so far out, like an
island away from the push and pull of daily living. People who are caught
in the cities appreciate a break like this. It's a quiet place. So many
could come to see the antique photographs we still hold in the family. We
have great numbers of photographs from this civilization's ancestors. This
could be a place where anyone could read about their ancestor's trials,
their fight to hold the land, to work with nothing and create something.”
The rock wall Dad built with
his bare hands inspires me. Someone else might feel the same way about the
lovely rock work which uses the stones off the prairie. The selections to
show off the rocks where fossils are embedded on the old rock porch are so
like a mystery to me, too. Why are there fossils in the flat prairie
location? To see the little seashells caught in the rocks instead of in
water as where one would normally expect to intriguing.
There is the old cemetery of
the German immigrants where the graves of their children are buried, too.
The stone markers hold memories of their families in this, the loneliest of
A firsthand study could be
made as to how pioneers held on and were able to battle the greatest of
odds. The weather, the varmints, the isolation and the poverty with only a
dream to spur their will, would be inspiring children and encouraging to
their parents when they become weighted down with problems.
Dawn was truly excited and
sure everyone would see her dream as well. However, the immediate extended
family was always too respectful, too caring, and too considerate for
letting her know what they really thought about her idea. It wasn't the
polite ignoring of her talking about it, but their quiet study of her which
made the lady feel as if she had two heads.
So then, Dawn went about
another lonely task accompanied only by the fidelity of her mate on this
project. He wasn't catering to her wishes simply to console her, but was
genuinely ready to do what had to be done to address the obviously real
problem pushing in upon, not only the youth of their family, but of the
whole area as well.
If we can show our young
people we are here, we care that records are saved for them, history is
written, their grandparents battles were fought for them and their
descendants; then they, too will one day take the time to pass this
history on to their own. In this way can't we help to establish a bridge
between times just as Leslie felt she experienced an understanding during a
rain storm and a revealing dream while she slept there in the old family
home gave her understanding?
These things agreed with the
beliefs her family held and Dawn was thankful she was exposed to art at an
early age (four years old) by the artists who visited the family. They
stayed for a time and always left a bit of their life with the family in the
form of their work. By the time the age of twelve rolled around, the
haunting, huge murals depicting Pocahantas and John Smith at Woolaroc out of
Bartlesville, Oklahoma were part of the children's experience-- much to the
awe and total captivation of the child's mind. These are the things of
With this thought in mind,
Dawn invited her four year old granddaughter to visit Gilcrease Art Museum
in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Even though the child was only four, the little girl on
video tape ran through the place making statements, unrehearsed, "Awesome!"
"Cool!" "Wow!" This was reason enough for Dawn to save the tape to play
for classes at the schools when she was invited there to lecture about her
painting of the mural for the post office.
If I ever have a gallery
there is one thing I think would be a great goal to shoot toward and that
would be to have a daily bus going to the schools, each day of the school
year, for all the surrounding areas to bring in students to see works of
art. This would be my legacy to leave there in our family home. With this
in mind, I need to use my time wisely in order to have a large number of
finished works. It is easy to let paintings slip away through donations and
With this decision made,
Dawn began her visits to the towns around, painting her canvases wherever
the opportunity presented itself. At Pawhuska a mural was put on the outside
of a paint and building store wall. Even though her age gave her a little
handicap, her maturity allowed her to far outweigh the inconveniences in
physical ability against her skills in being able to focus in on the work.
After setting up a detailed drawing with every phase of the picture
established, it was a breeze to complete the large outdoor work.
In Pawhuska, a ranching
community, the cowboys wore their tall leather, often hand tooled boots. If
this was a distinguishing label, so were the Stetson hats. These men were
ever alert to anything just a little different from the norm. This was
because their way of life dictated the need to be observant. With their
polite ways they wouldn't interfere while she worked but, on the other hand,
they could not control their need to see what she was doing. This resulted
in a rather lively business for the store owner that day. There seemed to be
a rash of home repair emergencies.