Unfinished Portrait – The Artistic Gene ? Part Two

June 9, 2010 at 10:57 pm 12 comments

“In search of my son- in search of me.”
Part One In search of my son- In search of me
Part TwoTourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks

Part Five Dark Humour- Shedding a Light
Part Six – The Unfinished Portrait

Part Seven– The Unfinished Portrait- The Artists
(2) Part Two – Who Are We Really?
Part Eight– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight

Part Nine– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight – Part Two
Part Ten (a)There is an “I” in Death
Part Ten (b)- I didn’t know my son- Chris Ritchey
Part Eleven- Unfinished Portrait the Artistic Gene


Daily my children passed by works crafted by the thoughts and hands of those that had gone before and in some cases are still with us.

More recent in the family tree of artists was my own father .

Father’s Day is not too far away, as I write this, so maybe an appropriate time to explore what had been passed down to Chris from my own father.

Over the years , as I remember my father

( who was also a bit of a tear away and also showed me the “dark side ” upon occasion – one of the reasons I can recognise narcissistic and less than flattering behaviours in others . I had a great teacher . Thanks Dad πŸ™‚ )

I realized my education may have been somewhat painful at the time but an education none the less.

It seemed through my formative years something was always being built or crafted in the living room, kitchen. Moving countries, as we did on a fairly regular basis for fairly irregular reasons, it didn’t matter if we turned up without furniture to a new abode. My Dad would get some lumber and build a piece. One piece in particular, a home entertainment center, won the award for Best Amateur Design in the British Isles.

He was always working on cars and yes ! in that same living room with the design winning “entertainment center” you would find a car engine being stripped down or the prototype for a dual braking device ( for which he held world-wide patents) or to designing and building a single person Hovercraft.

My mum put up with a lot from my Dad.

Although there is a painting on my bedroom wall , some candlesticks, models of steam engines and tug boats, cannons, a clock or two crafted by him.

You would have to look further afield for some of his best works ( museum quality)


Spanish Keys

A picture of a cross in a chapel hung for years over my son’s bed , it wasn’t a religious icon but his grandfather’s work

The story behind the cross:

I wonder as folk pass through the museum and pay respects in that chapel and look upon the silver crosses, does anyone ever wonder about the man behind the cross?

Probably not

would they care? Probably not

but this man who gave life to a lump of metal did he also give of his talent to his grandson? The ability certainly skipped me!

As I look at the design and crafting accomplishments of Chris I have to wonder, since his grandfather died when he was very young and 3,000 miles away ….how much came down to Chris through “blood , cells and genes” .

Chris , his grandson shared “traits”, the way they sat, there was a grin ( not learned) it was sort of a wicked little grin, when they had been up to no good about something, a slight wrinkling of the nose and flaring of the nostrils. (I saw that same flash of a grin last night flicker across Gavin’s face. as he headed toward a No! No! with deliberation)
It was the grin I remembered from my father that played across my son’s face from time to time. Their shoulders shared the same broadness, their love of expensive things. and spending money and their “temper”- which was also shared by me. I fully understood that slow build temper and watch out when it erupts.

Those traits of my father were not learned by my son- three thousand miles separated them for most of Chris young life.

Although Chris’ training cultivated his artistic talent there was a base talent that came through the generations .

I could see my father in my son when he was working on a project.

I saw my grandmother in my daughter the day she learned “his wife” had lied to her and was taking her brother totally from her. The flash and fire in blue eyes filled with tears were those of my grandmother. The way she fought to try to bring her brother home – ( and he would have been right there with her) -her argument falling upon the self ish deaf ears of “Control”.

None the less Chris was a diverse , multi faceted human being – his life composed of many people who contributed to his make-up.

The more I am in search of my son, the more I realize that this wonderful complex and talented being (with faults and all ) was more than anyone realized and also more of his ancestry that we realized. There will be answers to my questions – as his words and works reach out and speak for him through the veil of death .

Passion ,artistry , and a sense of justice passed down through the generations.

to be continued………

Entry filed under: Brit take, Chris Ritchey, Fathers, grief, Love, men of substance, Mothers. Tags: , , .

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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark  |  June 10, 2010 at 2:31 am

    Awesome piece, Loraine. The pics are fantastic!!

  • 2. Mary  |  June 10, 2010 at 5:34 am

    Lorraine, I believe in that! I call it “The Collective Unconsciousness”. My gran, who died 5 years before I was born, and whom I am named after is an example of that. I’ll do something and my father will say “You’re so much like your grandmother”! My son, who is the spitting image of my father, has an expression that is exactly like his great uncle’s on his father’s side but passed 7 years before my son was born. And this same boy is so much in action like his uncle, my youngest brother, who also is gone. What heartens me is that even though these loved ones are gone, still some part of them, of their personality, of their essence, seems to live on to be with us and bring us comfort. The greatest compliment my father could give me was to tell me that I was very much like his mother and that she would have really enjoyed me!

  • 3. thatwoman  |  June 10, 2010 at 11:15 am

    You know Mark I can still remember that airplane ride, and a ride on a pony that day .I can remember getting a big stick of “rock” ( an English seaside treat)

    and getting sticky and sandy hands and hating being sticky….something that I also noticed is shared by Gavin as we were at Catawba last week…..I hated sticky or sandy hands and so does he apparently……

    Mary I agree and I will be writing an article on hands soon and the sharing of …. Loraine

  • 4. aylin  |  June 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Loraine, I am with you. There are traits, qualities, charactertistics – the positive and the negative that are passed down through generations. I think that is why when twins seperated at birth who were raised thousands of miles apart have similar preferences, distastes, etc. It is absolutely amazing. Blood is blood. The good bad and the ugly are passed down.

    I recently read (sorry to go all theological on you once again), that we should pray for our children, grandchildren and all future family generations – pray that our sin (or even negative traits and issues – such as the inability to forgive or alcoholism or divorce) is not passed down through the generations. Of course, as catholics, we believe we should go to confession, but even as a Christian, it is important to pray that the qualities we do NOT want to see passed down to those generations to follow us – are not passed down. They said that much sin is passed down this way – it is possible that alcoholism (and some even say homosexuality) is truly passed on through generations – not so much is it a “disease” but addictions truly do follow the family lines until parents pray to rid it from the family line. During the consecration, when we believe Jesus is present, I do ask that His blood protects our future generations from all sin/disease/accidents/evil that was before us and all those that should follow us – from the beginning of the family line to the end. I am hoping to eliminate any unneccessary stress in their lives.

    In any event, your post reminded me of this conversation and of a piece I read somewhere along the line.

    Never want to bore you, just wanted to poke my head the window (while the kids are napping) and say hello and give you my aylin2cents worth, for whatever it’s worth.

    God bless you always. I said one for you this morning. I hope you are having a good week.

  • 5. thatwoman  |  June 10, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Thats Ok Aylin ( going all theological πŸ™‚ _ I have to admit I never understood the confession aspect of the RC church and to be honest the reason I am not too happy with “the Priest and the Bishop πŸ™‚ in my situation is that I believe they bear a responsibility ( especially the priest) of enabling pain and division ( didn’t think that was part of the job despcription) but more on that later.

    It has been a horrible day and week so far as I had to go back to the Cleveland Clinic today where my son died just six months ago and revisist the whole horrible journey but I survived it ( barely) and will put up the experience Sunday thank you for thinking of me sometimes strangers can be more supportive than “families ” πŸ˜‰

  • 6. aylin  |  June 12, 2010 at 12:32 am


    My own husband and many catholics can not fully understand or wrap their heads around confession. I think it is all about humility. It’s kind of like giving your soul a bath. People run around with dingy souls and just like you wouldnt go to a birthday party with soiled gardening clothes (you’d shower, get fresh clothes on), we believe people should clean up their souls (before mass, before communion, before receiving Jesus). Besides all this, you do receive great grace (and feel a lot lighter) after a good confession!! I can attest to this!!!

    As for the RC priest, Loraine, I feel as if I missed a part of the story, but didnt want to ask you to re-post if I had missed something. I couldnt follow the part about the priest – what happened – ? I had no idea but obviously, I could tell there was a negative connotation in your post regarding him. I would like to know the story if you have the time and if it isnt too painful to talk about.

    One more thing, I am so sorry your day was so terrible. Friday mornings, I usually begin with a 530am rosary (in which you are always mentioned in those rosary intentions) when I go running but the kids and I have both been sick, so I didnt get up (didnt go running) and you guessed it, didnt say my rosary. I feel bad as today was a day you could have used it.

    As for support, strangers vs families, oh yes, you arent kidding…some strangers are more supportive than family but in the end, Loraine, we will see that we’re more connected than we even realize in this world…… (and so I’ll end here) so I dont go all philosophical on you. πŸ˜‰ You bring out those sides of me, you know!!!

    One more thing, I didnt know Chris won creative awards in advertising. That is my business, as well. I thought that was awesome that he won awards and was so young in the field.

    Take care, talk soon.

  • 7. thatwoman  |  June 12, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Hi Aylin no you haven’t missed my “take on the priest yet” – he did upset the English and non catholics with his remarks at the “wedding” however that is not why I am -shall we say – disappointed in him, but all will be come clear in the next part of the journey ( part three actually of a series as to what happened with my dealings with the diocese after my son died). I have written part one and two today πŸ™‚ Part three will have all the letters that went back and forth over the situation I find myslef and my family mixed up in. I will tell you I was pleasantly surprised at the Vatican’s gracious response.

    Yes Chris won actually three Cleveland Addy awards for his work and he had only been employed for 18 months before he was diagnosed. His boss in her letter to me said that he was poised for great success….As you can see by my latest post the Meinke Commercial that runs on CNN and Jeopardy was one of his contributions, there were a series and he was the art director.
    I will be putting up some of his BFA project on Monday as well….

    Thank you for your thoughts and prayers and concern as you can see by the latest post Thursday was a terrible experience and I was exhausted emotionally from the trip…

    I liked the explanation re confession makes sense thanks

  • 8. aylin  |  June 12, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Loraine, I will wait to read all three parts of the story. It sounds as if the priest alienated non-catholics at the wedding. Where there is God, there is unity but where there is anxiety and division, there is the evil one. Priests are held to a higher accountability, so I hope this priest does not “divide” for any reason, but especially in God’s name. Not good.

    Do you know the story of St Christopher? When I read a certain section of his story, it reminds me of your Chris and his suffering here.

    I didnt realize Chris was an art director either. He had much (young) success to work on national campaigns so early into his career. That is awesome. I used to work for a big shop, but when I had the kids, I couldnt keep up with 60+ hour work weeks. I work at a smaller shop these days, full service agency with top talent – we have a client in Cleveland. Do you hear Mike Bass Ford spots? That is our agency. I am the media director (not creative) and so I place media on your local Cleveland TV stations.

    Ok, gotta jet. I have much cleaning to do during nap time. I hope your having a better Saturday. Glad Gavin’s test results came out well. I’ve been down that “ultrasound” road with the boys and it is absolutely nerve racking. Thank God all is well with the Loraine dude. πŸ™‚

  • 9. thatwoman  |  June 12, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Yes we know Mike Bass Ford very well Chris purchased all his vehicles through there including that Black f 150 Truck… Yes Chris , I think would have gone quite a way had he had the chance……

    Our Saturday was good we went to my son in laws cottage at Catawba, played in the sand with Gavin and watched the boats go by …. πŸ™‚ and watched the England USA match I taught Gavin the chant ” Meat Pie Sausage Roll cmon England gi us a goal.”….BUT all I got from him was gigglies I think he thought I had lost it…. I am glad it tied actually as my loyalties were divided πŸ™‚

    Yes when Chris was born his grandfather gave him a gold St. Christopher ( St. Christophers are very popular in England even among the non catholics …but didn’t I read he was no longer a Saint or something like that

  • 10. aylin  |  June 13, 2010 at 12:47 am

    St Christopher is most certainly a saint (however, there is uncertainty around “his story”) but it’s like everything else that is spiritual, you gotta have faith. Unfortunately, right now, it’s hip and cool to bash the Christian majority and anything faith-based.

    Glad you had a rockin’ Saturday. I pulled for the USA. England is a great place to visit with a beautiful country side, but I was pullin’ for the old red, white and blue!!!

    Enjoy the rest of the week/end. I will poke my head in again soon.

  • […] – The ClinicLisa on The Return- The IT – The Chair – The Clinicaylin on Unfinished Portrait – The Artistic Gene ? Part Twothatwoman on Unfinished Portrait – The Artistic Gene ? Part Twoaylin on Unfinished […]

  • 12. A Place of Echoes- Chris Ritchey « That Woman’s Weblog  |  July 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    […] related posts: (automatically generated)The Unfinished Portrait- In search of Chris (RITCHEY)Unfinished Portrait – The Artistic Gene ? Part TwoWhen Premonition Becomes Hindsight – Part […]

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June 2010

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