The White House 2
Being retired is a difficult transition to make. Before retirement, there was never enough time to do everything. Now there is too much time to do nothing. My wife has had the most trouble with the transition. She said to me, “Do you know why there’s nothing for you to do around here? Because I’m doing all of it. What do you say to that?” I searched for a clever comeback, only to be mocked by the ticking of my inherited grandfather clock that has no hands because the grandmother clock my sister got them. I’ll bet my grandfather complained about time, too. I better hide my Rolex. I answered, “You’re right I have to do something with my time. So, I’ll give myself a timeout while you go about our chores.”
My wife has encouraged me to take an interest in art to fill up the time. She has provided me with construction paper, glitter, paste and rounded scissors. I haven’t produced much, but I do enjoy eating the paste. After one satisfying paste-eating session, I got around to reading the Indy’s “Museum’s Art Colony Exhibit Chronicle’s Laguna Life.” It was apparent that way back then, artists ingested less paste than me and used their time to produce wonderful sea and landscapes. These works are now on display at the Laguna Art Museum’s Centennial Exhibit. The exhibit focuses on the history of the town’s earliest art group, its relationship with locals and the national attention that soon followed.
An early Laguna artist, Joseph Kleitsch, painted a picture entitled “The White House,” to document downtown Laguna Beach circa 1930. To my pretend artistic eye, even I could see there were no parking meters, parking stickers, plazas and parklets anywhere around. I wouldn’t know it was Laguna except that I recognized the village entrance.
An anonymous visitor from the east once told Laguna Life (forerunner to our beloved Laguna Beach Magazine), “The natives have adopted the slogan, ‘The Beach that is Different’…this beach is different from any that I have visited. The Coney Island idea is not to be found here. There are no fakes, no midway, no pike or amusements of any kind…Petty thievish and rowdyism are unknown…The female of the species does not believe in being encumbered with too much clothing at the beach; she wears a one-piece bathing suit that exposes her anatomy to the best advantage…appears on the street and does her shopping in a bathing suit.” Pause, while my mental gears grind slowly. I hear the grandfather clock ticking. Then it hits me. This anonymous east visitor jerk was ogling my grandmother. Yuck.
I go back to my art materials. I will update this painting and call it “The White House 2.” I can hear the visitor from the east these many years later, “The natives have adopted the slogan, ‘The Country that is Different’…this country is different from any that I have visited. The Coney Island idea is to be found here. There are fake news, double negative tweets…shootings and rowdyism are known…The female of the species does not believe in being encumbered with too much clothing at the beach; she wears a string bikini that exposes her anatomy to the best advantage…appears on the street and does her shopping in it. Do not look at her. She may work for you. #MeTooWatchYourStepBuster.”
Mark Crantz tells the Indy that he expects his artwork will not improve. He peaked at the hand-painted ashtray he did in second grade. His mom loved it.