Susan's "subject matter, context and medium...present a coherent artistic vision"
John Torreano, Clinical Professor of Studio Art, NYU

"Great stuff. Love your work."
Seymour Chwast

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monkeys, God, Father Divine and Tommy McLaughlin

 Painting Manita

MY GRANDFATHER, PAPA, called all his grandchildren "Monkeyshines." It was an omen.

Many families had cocker spaniels (although probably not as many as 10 at a time) cats, canaries, hamsters and pollywogs, but rarely would you find a family with a pet monkey unless it were the McLaughlins. His name was Richard.

Monkey on her back: One day my brother, Tommy, heard these perfectly dreadful screams coming from the laundry room. Like this: "Taaameee, the monkey's loose ... he's coming for me ... he's on my back ... biting my neck, ... Taaaameeee ... ... Have mercy on me! ... God in Heaven, ... Father Divine ... Taaawmeee ... Help me ... and so forth and so on! If you heard this, you would probably wonder what was going on. But not me. It was Faith, our housekeeper, stumbling up the stairs, fighting for her life, and, yes, with a monkey (that would be Richard) on her back. She was desperately asking anyone to help her -- God, Father Divine, or Tommy McLaughlin. She didn't care who -- any one of them would do. Although Tommy liked the potency of the company in which he had been placed in this possibly last supplication of Faith, he calmly walked past the laundry stair door, quietly closed it and moved on. When I asked him how could he possibly have not helped Faith, he told me at the time he was thinking, "God, or Father Divine, this one's yours. I have to go make a tuna fish sandwich for my sister." Right, it's always the sister's fault!

Monkeys don't swim: Richard, the monkey, didn't like family members any better than household staff. He was an equal opportunity molester. At our lake house, my brother told all his buddies, "Of course, monkeys don't swim," you can taunt him as much as you want and when he gets smart enough to figure out the locks on his cage (which was frequently) and gets out and is mad enough to chase us, all we have to do is jump in the lake. because, "Monkeys don't swim." It was quite odd to see a bunch of teenage boys swimming as fast as they could across the lake with a furious monkey swimming after them. The boys were screaming, "You told us monkeys don't swim." I am sure Richard was just misunderstood and I applaud him in his aquatic apprehension of marauding teenage boys. Au contraire, Tommy McLaughlin, monkeys do swim.

Paint on,


To see more Depingo family portraits and read  family life posts click  the links below:

Circle of Hell

1 comment:

  1. Susan you are either breaking out some of your paintings that haven't been seen or are the most prolific artist I know. Seems like a new masterpiece every week!