My father, Gramps, is quickly losing his memory.
At the moment, my father still remembers life as a young boy living on the family farm in Indiana. I fear that soon, those memories too will fade. There will be no new stories to add to those my siblings and I grew up hearing at bedtime. Tears still fill my eyes when I hear him tell of gathering a tin cupful of violets for his mother only to lose them all as the nasty rooster chased him across the meadow.
There are stories to be told to my children of my own past and the events that brought their father and I together not only once in marriage, but twice (oh my!). Life is short. I don’t want them to have only memories of the less than good times in their minds.
I painted this portrait of Gramps in 1980 when my name was hyphenated, Carter-Vergalla. The hyphenated name was acceptable in the Boston area but not so in New Jersey. The second time I married Michael Vergalla I didn’t change my name. Alexis, Nicole and Michael were born during the second marriage. Having a different last name never presented a problem. Chris Carter worked well as a name for the first 26 years of my life and it continues to work well for me.
In 1980 I was struggling to make a living as an artist. Life hasn’t changed too much in that respect. I began to show my work at outdoor art festivals and to accept portrait commissions through a local art gallery/frame shop in South Plainfield, New Jersey named “The Artist’s Touch”. It was there that I had my first solo exhibit.