How They Blogged in the Olden Days

Chopin's Mazurka, 1986, by Catherine Gibson

Stompin' to Chopin

What you need to understand is that prior to blogging and digital cameras, it was very difficult for your average person to convey thoughts and pictures to large audiences without friends in the publishing industries. The painting you see to the left was created by my grandmother Catherine Augusta Rademacher Gibson in 1986, before such technologies were ever invented, and I think you may find some aspects alarming.

This is actually a double whammy because it is 1980s technology representing an image from the early 1900s, so we have a bit of history here. That’s my Grandma Cathy, the little blond girl dancing. On drums, we have her little brother Ray, and rockin’ out in the middle is her big brother Clyde, tho’  everyone called him Dyke, and no one gave that a second thought.

The feet to the left belong to her dad Francis Aloitious Ignacious Rademacher.  On piano we’ve got Minnie Cotter Rademacher, and she’s slappin’ out the beats to Chopin’s Mazurka.

This is what people did for entertainment in the olden days in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and probably lots of places. What my Grandma Cathy did not know, while she was dancing, was that she and her brothers were about to spend a summer in South Dakota with their own Grandma Catherine that they would soon never forget.

This painting is hanging over my computer desk, as I type. It was given to me as a gift in 1987, the year my Boppy died. That was a very sad year. There will never be another Boppy. And I will get to him later. Right now, I want to tell you about my Grandma Cathy, the world famous artist, or at least she should be, because there are twenty paintings of her memories, all depicting her childhood in Minnesota and and then South Dakota, for that summer she’d never forget, in the 1910s. And I need to tell you why she painted them. They were her farewell dance to my Boppy, Verne Cyril Gibson, as he lay slowly dying in the Veteran’s Memorial Hospital in Livermore, California, a shell of the handsome and gallant Coast Guard Captain that he was, and it was not the way he wanted to go. He was ideally supposed to die in an accidental hunting accident, or at least while playing golf, something glamarous, at least, but life never turns out how it’s planned. So no, he went the hard way. And since Boppy had no Internet connection, no Facebook page, no Netflix account, and no access to HBO On Demand, my Grandma instead brought to his beside these paintings, depicting the days when they were young and wild and free.

She made my Boppy so happy.

And me, too. All of us. There will never be another Grandma Cathy.


About katiekelly

I grew up in a parking lot.
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8 Responses to How They Blogged in the Olden Days

  1. lauren says:

    brings tears to my eyes. it’s such a cool painting.

  2. Indi Young says:

    I am tearing up, reading this. I used to drive past that Veteran’s Hospital in Livermore when your Boppy was there. I was on my way to/from school breaks at Cal Poly. I wish that we could keep avatars of our gallant, handsome selves around to project when our bodies start to become shells. I saw my grandma two weeks ago, and I really tried to see her as a young woman, full of love and playfulness and grace, managing the stress of raising 8 kids. I mean, I could never do that gracefully! What have we lost?

  3. ntm says:

    You are doing a great job, Katie.
    I love these things.
    In the grocery store one, with Grandpa Cotter, she once told me that he always gave her a small bag of hard candies. But since that is really only paint, not cheese or candy, you are welcome to not make any change. It’s wonderful that you are working on this and your cousin Nell is all excited about it. Love, Aunt Mary

  4. katiekelly says:

    Oh please, more details! I didn’t know what that was. Of course, any child would prefer candy over cheese. What was I thinking?

  5. kelly says:

    Do you think your grandma saw people’s auras? It may have just been a an artistic device — but maybe she really did….?

  6. ntm says:

    well, if she did, she never would have admitted to such hippie foolishness. Cath was wildly creative, but would have thought that was nut stuff.
    By the by, I see auras and also snort when I laugh.

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