Deliver the Goods!

       UPS,  FedEx, Purolator, DHL Express and Canada Post trucks are common sites
       everywhere.  People from all walks of life take advantage of on-line shopping for
       necessities and luxury items.  We use them to order hardware and electronic parts
       that are not readily available in our small town.  Many small businesses and folks
       who work from home rely on pickups and deliveries.  Anything from a spark-plug,
       a box of kitty litter, a prom dress or a gourmet cheesecake can be delivered to your
       door, often with next day service.

       During Covid-19 lock-down and social distancing, people were unable or reluctant to
       shop in traditional ways.  Curbside pickup was available for groceries, many hardware
       and building products and prepared restaurant meals.  Many people were unable to get
       supplies and materials to work at home, do hobbies and carry on doing whatever
       they do, isolated at home.  Many turned to the internet and large supply companies like
       Amazon to order things and those items were duly delivered to front porches, lobbies
       and security boxes everywhere.

       I thought back to my days growing up in the 1960's and 1970's remembering the
       Delivery Services that we loved.  My favourite was The Egg Man who drove his own
       pickup truck and brought our standing order of one dozen, every week.  I have no
       recollection of what the eggs looked like or how they tasted.  Instead, it was the Egg
       Man himself that I remember with great fondness.  From his overalls and checkered
       shirt to his dusty boots, he was the epitome of a real farmer, the first one I actually
       got to know a little bit.  He invited our family to visit his farm and after seeing the
       chickens, watching the other livestock, playing in the barn and drinking homemade
       lemonade in the farmhouse; I was sold, I wanted to be a farmer's daughter.  One
       vivid memory I have of that day is seeing  Mark fall from the hayloft into the
       cow stalls below.  We had been warned about running and about the hole in the floor
       where hay bales would be tossed down but that meant nothing to my carefree
       brother.  At first I was horrified that Mark may have broken a leg or even have hit
       his head.  Finding him safely lying in some hay, I was very relieved but had to
       hide my inward "big sister" told-ya-so smile.  The Egg Man delivered more than eggs,
       he brought me one of my earliest memories and love of the country life.

       The neighbourhood Bread Man brought fresh loaves and sometimes donuts to our
       front door.  Once and awhile Mom would have me follow him out to the van with
       the next order, written in pencil on a small scrap of paper.  That was the method for
       ordering eggs, bread and milk.  I suppose the delivery chaps had a large notebook
       to record all the orders.

      Built in to the side wall of our house was a small box with a twist-latch and mail slot,
      the milk-box, where bottles of milk and cream were delivered. We had an inside door
      to retrieve our goods without having to deal with weather.
      Silverwoods Dairy serviced  our neighbourhood.  If we did not hear The Milkman
      arrive on the street we would know he was there by the sounds of clinking bottles being
      carefully placed into the box.  It was important in warm weather to get the milk into the
      refrigerator as soon as possible.  If we forgot to collect the milk early on colder days,
      the milk would freeze and push up the paper cap on a small white column of icy cream.
      The milkman was extra special because my grandfather, Mom's Dad delivered milk in
      Toronto back when milk carts were horse drawn.  Mom used to talk of her
      excitement when her Dad visited her Crawford Street home and she was allowed to
      pat the horses.

      The Mailman used the same box to deliver letters and small packages.  Of course,
      mail delivery in various forms, continues today.
      The milk-box came in handy a couple of times when Mark and I were accidentally
      locked out of the house.  Mark was tiny enough to climb into the box, feet first,
      maneuver around to avoid falling down the stairs and unlock the door for me.  After
      a couple of these entrances, Dad realized that burglars could easily break in that way
      too and he sealed up the milk box door forever.
      I always loved the glass milk bottles, especially the cream toppers and their special
      bent spoons, ingeniously designed to hold back the milk while the cream was poured
      off.  I have one now that Chris gifted me a few birthdays ago plus the creamer spoon
      that I grew up with and I love them.

      Newspapers have been delivered to porches and lobbies for years.  The image of a
      young boy tossing a rolled newspaper onto a porch from his bicycle is iconic.  The
      first Paperboy was hired in New York City in 1833!  The papers cost six cents each
      so we can only imagine how much the boys were paid.  I had a few friends, boys and
      girls, who delivered newspapers as their first job.  I helped my neighbour Linda with
      her route sometimes and found it fun but challenging, especially since I knew that she
      would be paid money for candy and I was doing it to be nice.

     There were also the Unscheduled Service Deliveries.  With no particular itinerary, keen
     individuals would walk or drive up our road delivering goods that they knew we wanted
     but had not actually ordered.  They had their products at hand like the Yummy Man,
     as we called him, and his ice cream truck whose song alerted the 'sweet-tooths" that
     frozen treats were just a few houses away.

    The Knife Sharpeners were unique individuals who operated in the cities and suburbs
    from bicycle mounted grinders to more sophisticated equipment in vans.  The fellow in
    our neighbourhood pulled a cart with one hand and rang his bell with the other.  His bell
    was rung with precision da-dung-da-dunggg, da-dung-da-dunggg, so loudly, that we
    knew he was a couple of blocks away.  He looked very forlorn and bedraggled, I imagined
    him fitting well into a Dickens story.  I remember Dad telling us that he'd felt sorry for
    him and brought out some scissors to be serviced.  The grinding stone left the shears
    unusable and we hoped he was able to eek out a living doing knives.

   I always loved to follow my Granddad down into his cellar where he would hand crank
   his grinding wheel to high speed and sharpen the knives.  I loved the smell, the sound
   and the look of the sparks flashing off the shiny metal.  I loved to sneak down the
   basement, grasp the wooden handle tightly and send the stone spinning so fast that it
   hummed loudly and shook the workbench.

   I also loved to watch Dad sharpen the carving knife, slapping it rhythmically back and
   forth against the honing steel.  I certainly wish I had been taught those skills from any of
   those three "sharp guys" so that I could hone my own most essential kitchen tool.

  Another brand of Delivery Service were the various sales people who went door to door
  convincing people that they needed various items.  They demonstrated the items and if
  they were cunning enough, take the order and deliver it to the front door a week or so
  after.  Many families housed a hundred pounds of knowledge on their bookshelves in the
  form of Encyclopedias that a salesperson convinced them they needed and later delivered.

 Who could forget the slogan "Avon Calling!"  Women wearing foundation, eye liner and
 lipstick perfectly applied, would peruse the Avon Book with a client and "help" them decide
 which products they "needed" to transform themselves and feel more "beautiful".  A crisp
 white paper bag packed with fragrance, eye shadow, mascara and nail polish and promises
 would be delivered by that same Avon Lady.

 How many brushes did one household need?  According to the Fuller Brush Man, there
 were many varieties and styles that consumers "needed".  A movie was even made about
 the relationship that developed between actors Janet Blair (customer) and Red Skelton
 (salesman)!  I must rush to see that, not!
     An aside about brushes is a fascinating story of my Great Uncle Earl who traveled to
     China in search of a source for pig bristles to use in the brush manufacturing company
     he was starting in Boston.  While he was there, he met my Great Aunt Elva who was
     in China working as a Christian missionary. The two were married and lived in their
     Boston home in winter and gorgeous ocean side home in Mattapoisett in summer.
     My Aunt Elva was an inspiration to me, creating amazing meals, baking and preserves,
     growing incredible perennial gardens with all types of berries and living alone in the
     cottage in her late seventies.  When the cottage burned down one winter, Aunt Elva
     was in her eighties.  She rented a trailer and stayed on the property to supervise the
     rebuilding of her beloved summer home.  Elva had a small pump organ and would
     beam widely whenever she played it.  An authentic German cuckoo clock that became
     the tradition before bed when we visited the summer home with three year old Danielle. 
     Dad would hold Dani up to wait for the cuckoo to emerge eight times with its infamous
     call and then it was off to bed.

    Eventually the larger companies particularly the Department Stores, marketed their
    wares in catalogues that showed images, included a brief description and the item price.
    Customers would phone in their orders and Delivery Trucks painted with distinctive
    company colours and logos delivered the products.  When I was young, there were two
    major competitors in Toronto, Eatons and Simpsons.
    Families supported one of the two so our neighbours were either "Eatons or Simpsons
    households".  We were Eatons loyalists for reasons unknown to me, maybe their two stores,
    one on College and the other on Queen Street but more likely the T.Eaton Company's
    beloved annual Punkinhead themed Santa Claus Parade and toyland.  Dad worked
    painting and assembling floats for at least two of the iconic parades.  My Aunt Jean
    worked for Eatons and we once visited her amazingly huge office.  My vivid and
    treasured memories highlight the elevators, whose slatted metal doors were controlled
    by an elevator operator; the amazing wooden floors that seemed to stretch for miles;
    the twenty foot high ceilings and the water cooler where we filled our little cone-shaped
    paper cups from the giant gurgling glass bottle.

                                                     toy model of the delivery van
                                                1950's Eatons, note elevators in the rear

            There were many companies that jumped on the "Delivery Band Wagon".  Phone
            orders could be placed, as they are today, for food like Pizza and Chinese dishes
            to be delivered hot and ready to eat.

            Florists have been delivering bouquets for birthdays, bereavement, holidays,
            milestones, love and apologies for a hundred years.
           Once, while my boyfriend and I sat at our kitchen table at home, a delivery of
           white roses arrived for me from another admirer.  Mom saved the day whisking
           them away and hid them in her bedroom for me to enjoy later.  Over the years,
           I have received many beautiful bouquets but that was the only one that was
           delivered to my door and I remember it fondly.

                                                        image by Carrie-Beth-Williams

            We supported the Pop Shoppe who delivered cases of flavoured soda. Imagine
            the excitement for two young teenagers and their Dad when a variety case of
            pop was carried to the cold cellar for storage and one bottle was place in the
            refrigerator for consumption.  Today the red delivery cases, glass bottles and
            bottle openers are all considered Vintage items and fetch a fine dollar on Ebay.
            I suppose that I am Vintage too; wonder how much I would sell for?

            My bestie Wendy's family had The Chip King deliver potato chips to their family. I
            suppose with five kids, they needed a large can of snack food.  The image below
            is the container that Wendy has saved as a memento of those Delivery Days.

And the Beat goes on....

        Everyone realizes the importance of music in our lives.  For centuries live music
        performances in all cultures have excited, soothed and inspired.  People have various
        forms of music that they turn to either daily or when particular life events occur.
        Hearing music from any era can trigger memories and induce copious emotions.

                                              "Afffection Violins"  Philippe Guillerm

        I have always been aware of the way the arts intertwine but the death of John Prine
        got me thinking about the way music has inspired visual artists and visa versa.  I have
        a family friend who is a painter and illustrator and often mentions the music he listens
        to while creating in his studio.  John Prine's music has been such a source for John
        Coburn and that connection inspired me to research a few other artists.

                                                            John Prine 1970's

               A few pieces of the vast and wonderful collection of John Coburn, Toronto:

                                       "Saint-Germaine Paris"  pen & ink, 2017  14" x 11"

                                  "Lindis Pass" New Zealand,  oil on canvas,  2020 16" x 40"

                                                  "Paris" pen & ink,  2017  11" x 9"

                                 "Red Dress" Chouisel, St. Lucia  oil in board  2017 14" x17"

                                            "Coyoacan" Mexico, pen & ink 1994 18" x 30"

       * see more John Coburn on Instagram, Facebook or Google-John Coburn Toronto Artist

       I found a few articles on-line, mainly in Arts Magazines, that discussed art works that
       were created with the "ears" of the artist as well as the hands.  I decided to look into a
       few visual artists, mainly painters, that readers would likely recognize and look at
       their musical preferences.  My art history education provided many ideas for this post.
       It appears that a direct correlation between specific musicians and visual artists was not
       noted until the late 1800's.  There were a number of musicians whose compositions
       were directly inspired by paintings.  For example, Respighi created a symphony in 1919
       based on Renaissance master Botticelli's painting "Primavera", 1482.

                                                   "Primavera" Botticelli

        Leonardo Da Vinci's painting may not have been influenced directly by music but I
        must mention the most famous painting in the world, "Mona Lisa" 1503.  Nat King
        Cole crooned about her illusive smile in Ray Evans and Jay Livington's popular song
        "Mona Lisa" 1950.

         Reference: Daily Art Magazine "Music and Life"

                                                       "Mona Lisa" Leonardo

        In Japan in c.1829-1833 Hokusai made his famous print "The Great Wave" and one
        hundred seventy years later, Debussy wrote "La Mer"1905, inspired by Hokusai's art.    

        Reference: Houston Public Media "Great Painting that Inspired Music"

                                                          "The Great Wave", Hokusai

       Impressionist George Seurat's painting of "A Sunday Afternoon, La Grande Jatte"
       1884 is iconic.  Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for a Broadway musical
       called "Sunday in the Park with George", based on a book by James Lapine. 1984

                                         "A Sunday Afternoon, La Grande Jatte"  Seurat

       Van Gogh's painting "The Starry Night" 1889 was celebrated in Don McLean's
       ode "Vincent", 1972.

                                          "The Starry Night" Van Gogh

     Whistler, famous for the painting of his Mother, painted a series of moody fog-
     filled canvases in London, 1871.  Each featured a different colour palette and were titled
     Nocturnes after Chopin's solo piano compositions in 1831 "The Nocturnes".

                                             "Nocturne in Blue and Gold" Whistler

            Wassily Kandinsky is one of the first painters of the Twentieth Century to explore
            Abstract Art where colours, shapes, line and form become the main subject matter
            of a canvas.  He embraced scientific theories about colour and the spiritual aspects
            of music, specifically inspired by the music of Ravel, Stravinsky, Wagner and
            Rimsky-Korsavov.  Kandinsky often titled his paintings with musical references
            such as "Composition 8."  In 1928, Kandinsky mounted a Bauhaus stage
            production based on Mussorgsky's 1874 music, "Pictures in an Exhibition".

            Reference: "Open Culture Magazine"
                                           "Improvisation 28" 1925  Kandinsky

           Picasso was influenced by Spanish Classical Music.  He was friends with many
           musicians including Stravinsky and created over seventy paintings and collages
           featuring the violin and the guitar.
                                                    "Guitar" Picasso 1912

          Piet Mondrian created abstract paintings that reduced the elements of art to their
          basics.  Colour and shapes were arranged according to the rhythm of life that
          surrounded Mondrian in modern New York city.  He believed in the spiritual
          power of music and used that inspiration in his work.

                                          "Broadway Boogie Woogie" Mondrian 1942

          Georgia O'Keefe loved Opera, Classical and Sacred music.  Using music as one of her
          muses O'Keefe's canvases exude a spiritual, musical quality.

          Reference: Neil Shaw Cohen

                                                 "From the Lake" O'Keefe 1924

            Frida Kahlo's paintings were deeply influenced by her love of traditional
            Mexican Mariachi, Latin America Folk Music and Jazz.  The song
            "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay, 2008, was inspired by Frida Kahlo.

                                   "The Love Embrace of the Universe" Frida Kahlo 1949

               Barbara Hepworth, a British Sculptor, incorporated themes of music and
               movement in all her work.  Her musical mentors were Thomas Tallis, J.S Bach,
               Stravinsky and Benjamin Britten.  Her personal friend Priaulx Rainier
               experimented with unique forms of modern music and Hepworth and Rainier
               collaborated in a performance where her syncopated hammering on stone was
               integrated with his percussive soundtrack.  Movement and rhythm in Hepworth's
               sculpture reflect her belief in organic living.  She was very conscious the earth's
               daily and seasonal changes and the harmony in nature.

               Reference: Helena Bonett Kingston University, London

                                               "Two Figures" Barbara Hepworth 1949

                 Jackson Pollack is famous for his "action painting" where he "danced around" a
                 canvas on the floor frenetically dripping layers of paint while listening to music
                 that provided energy and rhythm as he created.  Dizzy Gillespie's Jazz was his

                                         "Autumn Rhythm" Pollock 1950
                Henry Moore preferred Classical and Choral music.  He believed that "Art
                should have a certain mystery and make demands on the viewer".  Nature's
                forms and spiritual music inspired Moore to sculpt with that purpose.
                Murray McLachlan wrote a song in 1974 "Down by the Henry Moore"
                to honour Moore's sculpture "The Archer" at city hall Toronto.

                                                   "Family Group" Henry Moore 1950

                In an overview of famous artist's I could not leave out Andy Warhol.  He was
                into Contemporary Folk, Rock and Pop music.  He managed the band
                Velvet Underground who performed in his studio space known as 'The Factory'.
                Warhol designed album covers for  Diana Ross, "Silk Electric" the Rolling
                Stones, "Sticky Fingers", Aretha Franklin's "Aretha", Liza Minelli's "Live at
                Carnegie Hall" and John Lennon's posthumous "Menlove Ave."

               Warhol created many iconic images of 20th century America and his work
               influenced many facets of Pop Culture, especially music.  David Bowie
               composed a song to celebrate "Andy Warhol".  Lou Reed and John Cale wrote
               an entire album as a tribute to Warhol.  It's title "Songs for Drella" used
               Warhol's nickname, a combination of Dracula and Cinderella.

                                                   Elvis I & II  Andy Warhol,  1963


                                   Credits to Google Images for Art reproductions.





Someone else holds the key.

         Covid-19 has stolen the keys to our freedom and we are in lock-down.  Until the virus
         has no hosts to feed upon, it will go on turning our world upside down.  I am lucky to
         live where I can still go out to the forest for walks just beyond my back porch.  My
         thoughts go to the infinite number of people who are isolated at home or other
         places who are forbidden to go outside.

         It is a time of darkness and shadows and a time of reflection.  I decided to imagine
         that I was banned from leaving my home.  I did a photo shoot over a few days where
         I searched my limited surroundings for shadows and reflections, literally.  I realized
         that to find both those things, one needs a source of light.  And so, the group of
         images ended up being about optimism and hope.


                                             Stay home and continue to find the light.