This series of drawings takes its title from the Girl and Boy Scout mottos “be prepared”. However, as an adult we know that no matter how well prepared one is, something unexpected can happen. The picture Emergency Measures was conceived in response to a diagram in my old Girl Scout handbook. The diagram, which appears on the left, was under the title “Emergency Measures”. It shows what substitutes can be made for measuring food when caught out of the kitchen. This is an emergency measure? Ha. As a middle-aged woman, I can think of many real emergency measures, which have to do with life and death issues and all situations in between, even for a healthy and well-prepared woman.
The title of the drawing Jump when it comes down comes from a phrase in a 1970s grade school health text book. The text, about fair play and good social interaction, if taken out of context, could have ominous overtones. I wanted to juxtapose the earlier, less complicated years of youth with the more serious, complex times of adulthood.
The phrase Young at heart comes from a direct conversation I had with my wonderful mother-in-law, when she was 81. She told me she was still startled when she accidentally glimpsed a reflection of herself. How could she have gotten so old looking? Her physical appearance betrayed the fact that she still “felt like a 16 year old”. This image was made ten years after that comment, when she was 91, and still vibrant. It was made because I’m now startled at my own reflections, which do not match my inner feelings of youth.
Words, and their multiple meanings, have always fascinated me. This is certainly the case in Agitator. The agitator diagram is from a contemporary dictionary. The source for the girl washing clothes comes from a 1935 Childcraft book chapter on dramatic play.