Memory And Morro Bay

When I was a kid, I always skipped the family vacation and I never went to sleep-away camp. Instead, I spent the summers at my grandparents' farm in Minnesota. I'd ride horses, climb the apple tree, build forts out of hay bales and explore the cavernous 19th century dairy barn. On rainy days, Grandma and I would creep into the cellar of the old house — it was the first residence built in the county — and look for salamanders. Or we'd drape sheets over the dining room table and have a picnic underneath it. Grandma was more fun than anyone else I knew. Even after I moved away from the Midwest and my visits grew less frequent, she was still a touchstone and 39Acre Farm always felt like my heart's home.

In a way, it is sort of fitting that a couple of weeks after Grandma died, I packed my bags and traveled across the country to the seaside village of Morro Bay, Calif., for the Genesis 3 Level I Design School. My grandparents were both on my mind a lot that week. David Tisherman's relentless insistence that we learn to draw; Brian Van Bower's enthusiasm and passion for the craftsmanship and quality of the artists' materials like Oceanside Glasstile and Harris Brothers' stone products from Greece; and Skip Phillips' penchant for solving design problems with engineering and physics. These are all traits my grandfather, an art professor and respected artist, had in spades.

The trip to California was the first one I'd taken in years — maybe decades — that I wouldn't be sending a postcard to Grandma. She loved to travel and had done a lot of it before the usual effects of age kept her at home. She loved the postcards I sent from nearly every business- or vacation trip and she kept them all: Las Vegas, Virginia Beach, Tulsa, New Orleans, Cedar Rapids, Chicago, Mantaloking, N.J., New York. I bought a few Morro Bay postcards just the same.

My grandparents both would have been very happy that I had the opportunity to go to Design School at Morro Bay. Grandpa because of the Genesis 3 reputation for flawless design and craftmanship and Grandma because of the extraordinary people I met and the wonderful travel adventure I had.

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