As Phyllis gazed at my painting of my grandparents' farm, her memories of growing up in Iowa cut through the haze of her Alzheimer's disease. She came alive talking about the different cycles of crops and the smell of the dirt.
Phyllis likes to remember. And, here in Snohomish, she has more than 40 years of memories to relish. I made this painting to help her remember her Snohomish and how she enjoyed living here with her husband George.
Here's a brief account of Phyllis' memories that I included in her picture of Snohomish:
George worked down the street at the local high school, and heard over the loudspeaker at a basketball game he was coaching about the birth of his youngest daughter. George and Phyllis would walk that one-mile block around the high school every day and go to games for fun.
They walked everywhere. I've run into them on one of their daily constitutionals on almost every block in town. A favorite leg of their walk was down to the nature reserve near the water treatment plant. The Snohomish river flows by and birds gather there, making you feel like you're out in the country, far, far away from town.
George would push boats into the river further upstream near the old railroad trestle to snatch fish out of that river when the salmon ran. That railway had been turned into a trail paving a way north, past the Aquatic Center, for walkers and bikers to travel all the way to Arlington by foot. Phyllis would head over to the Aquatic Center for some water aerobics with the girls a couple of times each week. The dirt track behind the pool serving as a reminder of the Freshman Campus that once was there.
The boundaries of George and Phyllis' Snohomish were first edged by their huge garden and flowering grounds, but also from balloons floating overhead and from the shrieks of delight from sky divers swirling down toward Harvey Field, and into the East by the most beautiful edge of the Cascade mountains.
Here's Phyllis' map to remember all this and more of her life in Snohomish.