Hi All...We're in the process of moving to New Zealand. We're packing now, which includes dealing with my stored art from the last 50 years (sort of complicated), and getting our house ready to put on the market. So things have ramped up pretty intensely here...all of it good and interesting IF my old body can weather more activity than its experienced in a long time. So far so good though. The move aside, I am going to do my best to keep Zen Dogs going, but my posts might be fewer and further between, at least until we're settled again.
Truth is, moving household goods and people is nothing new to me and not a bit intimidating since I was raised in a moving and storage company family—STINE TRANSFER AND STORAGE...see photo above...that's my grandfather at the wheel of his truck. He started the company in 1906. My dad worked there for his dad for many years as a mover/truck driver, then he took over with his brother in the 1940's and I worked there too in my youth in the late 1950's. I liked the work, even though it was pretty hard sometimes. I started driving big trucks the day I turned 18, actually within an hour of getting my chauffeur's license I was driving a big semi truck and trailer through Los Angeles in heavy work traffic, gnashing and crashing the gears the whole way, much to the hilarious delight of my two old guy helpers riding with me in the cab. I survived. The truck survived and what's more I went on to become famous in Stine Moving for a guy who back a biggest trucks and trailers into the trickiest places. Makes me smile to remember my claim to fame then.
This time though our move to NZ is a little unusual. Distance for one thing... like 7000 miles from one country to another with an ocean in between. Of course there won't be anything shocking waiting for us in NZ, since we've been commuting between the two countries almost yearly for nearly 40 years. So we have everything in place for our arrival there: a house, family, friends and the whole nine yards.
Anyway, I took the afternoon off today to freshen up Zen Dogs website and write this to give you a heads up. Right now we're focused on moving the ton of stuff clogging up the house to two storage units up the street to make the house look like normal people live here or could live here. We just heard the house up the street just sold after being on the market only a month or so. Good for them and good for us.
Anyway, even though we're moving I know I won't stop drawing since it helps keep my head on straight, brains in order and my feeler exercised, and it makes me feel good no matter how things might be going otherwise. So there won't be a problem connecting on the image level at least...
Anyway, that's it for now. Will keep you posted...All the best, Richard S.
Wednesday - May 14,1956
3 months and a few days short of my 16th birthday
It was around 2pm. I was in class in a portable classroom far from the main school whose view was obscured by the Auto-shop next door. 5 minutes into Mr. Floyd's History class and I was already counting the seconds until the bell rang and it would be over…
Looking back on that class now, I'm pretty sure it was more of a dumping ground for feral students than the simple History class they told us it was supposed to be. I say that because our teacher, Mr. Floyd, seemed more like a boxer or a bouncer, than someone whose sole job it was to impart knowledge to youth. He was a tough talking humorless man you knew could make mince-meat out of anyone at any time. He was so half-cocked-scary to me that I sat as far from him and as invisibly as I could in class. He didn't like me I know by the way he sometimes made an example of me about how not to be and what not to do in his class. He’d done that more than once. I’m sure It didn't help that I didn’t do many of his assignments like he wanted me to and that I hardly ever had answers for the questions he'd ask in class. In a nutshell, nothing about him made sense to me. To me he was just a cruel person, half man, half beast, with a big angry chip on his shoulder and a short fuse. Repulsive.
High on a shelf in the front room I see a photo of our long gone dog. What fun Bonnie was. Thing is I started drawing dogs long before we got her, which is not to say that from the minute she walked in the door she wasn't a huge boon to my " canine research.” She was 6 months old when we got her from an animal shelter in Los Angeles after seeing her at a Beverly Hills art fair where we were selling my art. One afternoon, a woman working for an animal shelter came into our booth with this beautiful black dog on a leash, the dog wearing a t-shirt saying: ADOPT ME. A couple days after the show, back home in Ojai, 90 miles north of LA, I mentioned to Margaret that I couldn't get the black dog wearing the ADOPT ME t-shirt out of my head. We both agreed instantly and absolutely that the last thing we needed then was a dog. A few days later we drove back to LA and got Bonnie from the shelter. And for the next 15 years we marveled at her ever-expanding understanding, and the downy soft fur on the top of her head that smelled like it came from Mars.