Years ago (more than I’ll tell) at my twenty year high school reunion, a booklet was created with an update of where everyone was and what they were doing. It was lovely, in those pre-Facebook days, to learn about those classmates who did not attend the reunion. It was a miracle I attended, but my high school friend, Barbara, and I decided on a whim to return to the small Alabama town near the army base where our fathers had been stationed during those high school years. Neither of us had been back.
I learned from that booklet that John Brock had a pottery studio in Arlington near my home in Virginia. I was happy for him.
John and I were friends all through high school. Like me, he was one of the “smart kids.” He was one of the “townies” and I was one of the “army brats.” He was artistic and so was I. Our school was too small to have an art class so we pretty much had to be artistic on our own.
The Christmas of my senior year I had the brilliant idea to commission John to paint my portrait as a gift to my parents. I don’t remember how much I paid him, but it was a secret, so I had to invent reasons to drive to town from the army base for my sittings.
I was thrilled with John’s painting. I loved it. My parents, though, were not as excited about it as I thought they would be, but they hung it in a fairly visible place in the house.
Shortly after graduation, we left Alabama. My dad was sent to Korea and my mom and I joined my aunt and older sisters who had moved to Washington, D.C. I attended college in Ohio. The next summer, my dad returned and we bought a house in Virginia.
While in Korea, my dad had beautiful paintings made of my sisters and me, each from our senior high school photos. John’s portrait of me was sent to my bedroom while the Korean portraits hung prominently. I always loved John’s portrait the best, though.
And, later, when married, with two small children and a busy job, I always intended to look John up and visit his pottery studio.
But I didn’t.
A few weeks ago I got it in my head to see if John was still in Arlington. We have Google now, so I was confident I could discover if he was still near by, all these years later. I found an article about him!
The article, dated 2011, began, A posthumous exhibit of the works of local artist John Brock will be on display through Dec. 29 in the Palm Harbor (Florida) Library’s “John Brock Art Alcove….”
I also found a signed piece of John’s pottery for sale on ebay. I bought it.
I didn’t forget you, John. I won’t forget you.
If you are near Melbourne, Florida, this Saturday, Feb 22, and want to attend a writing workshop, I’ll be presenting at the Spacecoast Authors of Romance Super Saturday. Details here.