Poppy graced the front cover of the Harrisburg news, running back's arm outstretched, clearing the gridiron in his leather helmet; he was a 53-seconds 440 guy on the cinders. He graduated from Franklin & Marshall ("The Diplomats") and medical school at Temple. Pop was a family man, truth be told, eccentricity aside.
My dad was my god. He taught me what was good and what was evil. He taught me what to get excited about and what not to worry about. He showed me how to perfect what I was doing by doing it again and again. Pop was fearless. He taught me who I was.
When I was four, the "Good Doctor" changed from being a driven tyrant into a door-filling F5 hurricane with a chit in hand and a survivor's campaign ribbons.
The dutiful, the courageous, the heroic, many died, some lived. He enlisted to save people and never fired a shot at the enemy, and even rode a lifeboat ashore from DE-693, the USS Bull (named for a naval aviator posthumously given the Distinguished Flying Cross), to rescue a fighter pilot off the island of Leyte, PHL.
The same medical corpsman who left his guns on the naval vessel imbibed D-Day's death and destruction, and yet more in the Philippines, Okinawa, Iwo Jima, then quietly escorted PTSD home to begin his family.
Yet, what better way to assuage his survivor's guilt than to embattle those he loved. The war raged on in his head and in our picturesque country estate. His damning words thundered like news headlines and slammed into our beach one after another. I was his best student. I had the front row to myself, I thought.
First I turned him off - I stopped paying attention to the storm I dreaded, then I stopped trusting him and was summarily disinherited after I moved as far away as I could while still living in this country. I ached from being jerked around by his explosive anger, and maintained it (even better) without his assistance.
"The five stages of grief * are: 1) Denial, 2) Anger,
3) Bargaining, 4) Depression and 5) Acceptance -
The beast grabbed Pop's combat medic's helmet.
Poppy was a passionate teacher and great leader,
though misunderstood by everyone, including his
big 'silver-spoon-fed' family. No one noticed that
he wore an accepted mask of work and endorphins.
Dependably, he had 'First Rate' and no quit in him."
His stellar medical work made him world famous and gave him wealth, a big name, and a hospital built for him by a wealthy Blue Blood family from New York City. All nice, but not near the top of his list.
But, buildings don't tell a person's story. They're just a
"Most of us have
and emotions that
have either developed
as a result of trauma
or hardships in their
childhood, or the way they were raised."
stack of bricks. People honor people. At his funeral his "friends" cursed and ridiculed him.
"Pop had deep convictions about how to do things.
That was his rock-solid foundation.
He continuously perfected what he did well."
Not even my younger siblings knew that he'd lost his first born child, our older sister. I was four-years-old. That's when our family secret became a huge invisible storm. The man others scorned was tireless and truly humble. Amidst ebullience, I do not understand how he had a lick of sanity. How did he escape being one of the 22 a day? Mom faithfully stuck with the man --- for almost sixty years, until he died at age 91.
But, I know his story. I had enlisted and raced into the battle before mom's tears fell on the gift from the sea. You see, truth awakens you and calms storms. A diary helps heal and save multitudes. It's an epic movie.
I TRUST the way a sea wall learned about hurricanes. I know much more about storms than the shore does. The only stories that matter are the stories that are told. Where are all you truth seekers?
Today, I'm an artist solving the problem of not having the words to tell your story. Each and every painting is an inexpressible diary entry ripe with meaning and depth. I ran into the shadow of another's wings.
"Pop learned to ask just the right questions
with his eyes, ears, and heart kept open on
real battlefields. As a doctor, he was known
for his 'uncanny' skill diagnosing problems
so quickly, accurately, and surefootedly."
With love, Your friend,
PS (91)- Pop gave me my first tool box, after he
taught me to build birdhouses, after he bonded me
to Lionels, after he bought me my first microscope
(and later, my second), after he bought me my first
camera (and later, my second), after he taught me
to work hard even on holidays, after he bought me a
European racing bike and taught me to ride it, after
he signed me up in Little League, gave me his first
baseman's mitt (I became a right fielder) and taught
me to play, after he demonstrated love of his prairie-
girl wife, he adored, and shared his joy for sailing
and tennis, ... He even gave me his stamp collection,
added to by doctors around the world, which I later
sold to fly to paint with Sr. Alcaraz in Spain, again,
again, again, ... and, again. My gratitude came later.
I painted a gunshell dancer for Mom and painted
Pop aside a lightning struck State Record mulberry.
He even taught me to mow, prune, edge, and weed.
Pop studied everyone and everything, read widely,
had amazing recall, and never cried or complained.
Life proved him far less than perfect. He knew it.
Mom chose a great man for her husband and father
of her children. Pop's legacy is all those he saved.
And, my Mom rescued him. So, here I am ... honoring
my parents, each a stone sea wall, the best I can.
YES, I have a tender heart for veterans, active duty,
and their families. I know them. I care deeply. Most
of all, I live a life of significance every day.
"My Daddy taught me to love, listen, and learn.
I let go of the fear of colorful, smiling timbre
in my voice, of being a lukewarm color, and I
became an artist — My financial feet are up
under me. I'm all juiced up and let it happen."
We're Family: They Cursed Him in His Casket.
My life was "a bloody mess" until I learned my My Daddy's real story ...
(Left) If you know how to make 'em miss, you know how to make them hit.
Make super sales pitches to your customers so they can make a big splash
with a bag-clearing, game winning home run. That's how to play the game.
"There are hundreds more ... the stuff from which several volumes of books are made. I'll write the Commentaries when it's time. Heck. Tens of thousands of people in my live audiences demanded these in a book for them, and more, almost 30 years ago. Paintings are my favorite 12th Dimension puzzles with an indefinite number of undefined pieces, on my clean slate, a blank sheet of paper. I'll publish if I don't retire first. In the meantime, I'll dance on the bridge of the corpus callosum, all y'all! While you're waiting, enjoy these audience favorites from my diary, personal notes, insights, and musings."
when you boys get home,
you're gonna see a lot
of war protestors. But
don't be bitter. Go up
to one, shake his hand,
and smile. Then ..."
Warning to you who follow the crowd.
Don't be flotsam swept in the current.
1a. The Freedom Fighter
2a. Horn Blower
2b. House with Many Rooms
2c. The Red Line
3a. Dave before Dawn
3b. Guardian Angel
3c. Deep Truths (Fishing)
4a. The Best Salesmen were
Major League Pitchers ...
who beat great batters.
Deep Truths. Aesthetes are rare and
delightful in all cultures and societies.
"I paint yellow houses, green. It's just the way I see 'em." Historic mansion where you can still sit for afternoon tea, or get married in the gardens, Texas.
"YOU paid the full price. Thank you!!! I'm your living legacy."
Carroll is "The No Kitsch Artist" from a small rural town where being outbid in a global context didn't matter.
Beauty in Essence. Last pencil drawing.
What's next? I wonder in silence.
Fort Worth Japanese Garden.
"I'm an artistic catalyst for change."
Field spotters have done their job.
"Target bracketed." "Fire for effect."
Goldenrod, very early colored pencil drawing.
The artist (Wearing his USA Cycling hat) fall birding with his mom and
dad at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey, circa 1998.
"To err is human,
to forgive divine, and
to persist devilish."
"I'm a fine artist, not an algorithm." Boathouse Row, Philadelphia, PA.
Jim Courtright in one of the famous
gunfights in the Old West, based on
a true story, told with artistic liberty.
* Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, MD, National Women's Hall of Fame, TIME Magazine "Top Thinkers
of the 20th Century," Woman of the Year 1977, New York Library: Book of the Century.
2021 © BELL-C
Pages from My Personal Diary
"Each painting is a rich story revealing life lessons."
"The practice of forgiveness is
our most important
contribution to the
healing of the world."