butter & tears

This morning my brain is full of vivid memories from childhood. I was a sensitive little girl. Too sensitive. I was also an only child until age 11. I was lonely and bored a lot of the time.

When I was about 7 we lived with some family friends for three months. The family had four girls, all of whom I loved. Two were older than me, two were younger. Although we got along well, I felt like the odd-ball with them. Their father was sweet and tender with them, but rather cold and abrasive with me. One evening we were all at the dinner table. I had been chastised in the past for taking too long with the butter. The dad said something like, "Rebekah, you're such an artist. Just take a glob and pass the butter." He said it loudly. I was embarrassed. Tears sprang to my eyes. I looked down, hoping to avoid crying. Instead gravity pulled the tears out of the eyes. I fought for composure and lost. Gross snot accompanied the tears. Everyone at the table was watching me. My embarrassment grew. I think I remember the dad rolling his eyes. (That could be my imagination. Either way, his attitude toward me was one of annoyance.)

I don't remember what happened after that. I wonder what my own parents were thinking. Were they annoyed with me? Sad for me? Sympathetic? I cannot remember their response. I wish they had stood up for me.

An interesting twist to this story is that I chose my career based on inspiration from the man who made me cry over butter. He was a commercial artist. He made signs. I watched with wonder and fascination as he painted bold, perfectly straight letters in the garage.

In fourth grade I declared, "I'm going to be a Commercial Artist like L." And here I am a graphic designer.

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