A Jeanne Site
California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: December 7, 1998
Faculty on the Site.
One afternoon in 1972. I was at Royal Palms beach, sitting on a large rock watching the breakers rolling in to the surf and crashing against the rock cliff. I was thinking of my husband and my son, as they were both in Vietnam. Suddenly I had a feeling of being very close to each, my son and my husband. Realizing that the very breakers and sea I was watching were a part of the China Sea. Where I was gave me a sense that there was a connection between the three of us. There was no feeling of distance, time or detachment from them for me. This is why I remember Royal Palms so fondly.
In this painting, her first ever in acrylics, Honor Klett found a means of discourse when words failed. She spent real time in my office, talking about the experience that led to this painting. She wanted to go beyond words to give others a sense of the oneness she felt at that moment. She couldn't, she said, paint it, for she was not an artist. So we talked of other ways to find and produce a "feeling." I spoke of my quick forays at the kitchen table, no easel, any paint I could lay my hands on. I tried to impart the sense that anything will do to make art when the feeling you want to communicate is as strong as Honor's clearly was.
Honor left that real time meeting, as mystified as she had come. Within a day or so she reappeared in my office and patiently and steadfastly waited for me to clear a moment or two to talk some more about her project. Nearly an hour later, we were alone. And she handed me the paper she had held quietly clutched to her breast all the while. That painting was "Oneness."
Within moments another student appeared, one skilled in technology. I sent Honor and "Oneness" off with him for scanning. Within the afternoon, 'Oneness" was on the site. Honor sat patiently as I put up the file in html, not in the least nonplussed by programming. Honor left that afternoon clearly pleased with herself and with the world, and rightly so.
Lest you think that this all falls in an ordinary day's work, let me remind you that this all took place within the interstitial moments of non-stop students and projects. Students collaborated, each helping the other with the skills they had acquired. And Honor is an ardent member of our Older Adult Center. She's a senior citizen, who just got tired of bridge in the afternoons!
Habermas, there is hope. A university, with all its scattered technology, reached out to the community, and together, we made a difference. Now, that's a liberal arts education. jeanne