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Voice: Adding zest by resurrecting dreams

May 13, 2001

Sometimes the circumstances of one's life prevents the realization of his fondest dreams in youth and even in middle age. Sometimes the dreamer gives up and relinquishes the dream. Sometimes, in his twilight years, the deferred dream finally becomes the dream possessed.

A poem admonished us, "Hold fast your dreams!"

A century ago there was a little girl who wanted to be an artist. Her father brought home unused sheets of newspaper. On some of the sheets her brother carefully drew steam engines. The little girl used berry juice to paint scenes like those around her or ones that she imagined.

Her workaholic mother thought that painting was, if not a dalliance with the devil, idle unproductivity. So she put the children to work.

The little girl grew up, had children of her own, and, still living on the farm that had been childhood home, was encouraged by her daughter to embroider worsted pictures.

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But even this small act of creativity was to be denied to her. Her hands became too crippled with arthritis to ply the embroider needle.

Undaunted, she went out to the barn and found new materials for her work: Thresher cloths and house paints.

Thus she became a primitive artist, and the genius of Grandma Moses upon the world.

Not all of us can become Grandma Moseses in our 70s. Few of us would want to be. But each of us can follow our latent dreams to wherever they may take us — as long as they do not require youthful vigor and vitality and as long as they square with our talents and skills.

For instance, I could not carry a tune if my life depended on it. So it would be sheerest fully for me to cling to a dream of being a great — or even mediocre — recording artist.

Nor would I dare to dream of being a prima ballerina — not even if I were young — because all of my life I have not even been able to walk without risking a bad fall.

Money — rather, lack thereof — kept me from realizing my third great dream: To own my own newspaper. I could've bought one once, but had the intelligence to realize I am not gifted with business acumen. So instead of a newspaper I publish a quarterly literary newsletter "Merry-Go-Round."

And I am renewing my long-buried interest in pen-and-ink drawing: taking lessons in drawing cartoons, caricatures and — to illustrate my own stories — dogs, cats and other animals.

I am no Grandma Moses, but I am adding zest to my life by resurrecting an abandoned dream.

MERRY HARRIS

El Centro

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