Do you have people in your life who, subconsciously, you model parts of your life after? I do. Many of them. And all for different reasons. Alice Schuette is one of those mentors for me, even though she has never, even be made aware of this fact.
Alice and I met in high school. Although, I cannot really say we were friends, but we were in some of the same activities and shared some of the same friends. Mostly, our lives did not cross until later in my life, after college, when she became someone I wanted to watch and sort of "take in."
I remember she drove this red Audi, and she kept a bag in her car to accumulate things she used during her day to add them to her recycling bin at home. This was in the mid 1980's, when all the recycling was done by you - no curbside pickup, no nothing. Even though I was recycling at the time, and getting tremendous grief about it from my parents, her act made me start doing things differently. I had only thought of recycling what I was throwing away in my house . . . she revolutionized my thinking about something very simple.
She was an artist. She taught at The Glassell Junior School of Art, which is the school associated with The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She had her own studio down by The Last Concert Cafe. I thought her life was so revolutionary; I just did not know how to have one just like it. But I wanted it. I loved going to her studio, with no air conditioning and all the projects lying about, how the door of the studio would open just like a garage door and the view looked out into an empty lot with all that air coming in. It smelled divine, and everywhere I looked I saw something inspirational.
Our lives now mirror each other in many ways. We both had our first child much older in life. We were both married at The Rothko Chapel, unknown to each other until recently, when she posted a picture on Facebook of her wedding. I have my own studio with no air conditioning that has a garage door just like hers. How about that?
I blogged recently about the 5 Things I Would Save in A Fire. Alice commented on her five, and it brought me to tears. I asked if I could share it with you. It makes me want to, once again, be more like her.
I have a photo of my dad dressed in drag when he was 8.
I have a photo of my great aunt and her cousin in 1920's dressed up like Pancho Villa. I have a stick that my dog Flash played with in our backyard at 811 Wade Hampton before she died in 1995.
I have a lock of Emile's hair from the first haircut.
I have several rocks from different trips that I've collected.
And I have a St. Martin (now sadly headless) and his prayer card that I got in Ecuador. These are just some things.
Aren't these things the real treasures? The ones we hold in her hands to evoke a memory or a feeling. I have a little drawer of this stuff too. I think I will move these bits and pieces into something a little more worthy of their significance to me.
Having these types of mentors, even in your head, is a powerful tool in my life. You do not even have to be close friends with this person in order for them to affect you profoundly. I wonder who you know that inspires you?