The Jim Gray Gallery
Baker's Dozen of Scriabin Cookies
Dr Chester and his wife Ellie, left quite an impression on Jim. They had walked over the mountains, out of Germany, and eventually made passage to America, as some of the fortunate had been able. Arriving with only what they could carry, Dr Chester brought his greatest assets in his mind. The ability to play classical piano and his command of several languages provided income for the couple, as he taught piano for many years, and also became a college professor. The handwritten story below will tell you more about Dr Chester and his wife Ellie. Jim recalled that she enjoyed dressing up in her colorful Hungarian outfit and the story is finally told, of the Scriabin Cookies that have been hinted at in previous posts on this blog. Additionally, as has happened numerous times in this project, when I enlarged this detail of the painting and pasted it into this story, I realized something I had never seen before. Dr. Chester is also in Costume... and like so many of Jim's characters, the costume pays homage in an almost inverse representation. Dr Chester was brilliant. He was also brave enough to risk his life to escape Germany. Here is the Scarecrow of Oz, with a brilliant mind and fearless, with a lit cigar in his mouth. He is parading along under the banner of sunlight and music, with that Scriabin cookies red balloon string attached to his cigar.
Jim Gray always enjoyed telling a good story. He also had a knack for allowing his vocabulary to drop easily into the accent and lingo that would add immensely to the story. Even in writing his recollections of a day at old German Dr Chester's, he spells phonetically the accent he heard and would have used in telling the story verbally; "Scriabin is vot I'm playing, Vot you are eating is chust a cookie!"
Oh, and the Baker's Dozen that I refer to in the heading... this is post Number 13 in the ongoing blog of the Joy of Life Parade. Dats justa little somthin extra, da lagniappe... as Dad might well have said, having had a few Cajun friends in his years down South.
So, that was supposed to be my closing line, but you just can't say Parade and Lagniappe in the same sentence without thinking of Mardi Gras. Did you know that Mobile Alabama celebrated Mardi Gras before New Orleans ever did? Early in Jim's career, he worked for George Criminale,(the man in the top hat) who built the elaborate floats for many a Mystic Krewe parading the streets of Mobile each year.
Jim and Fran were even founding members of the Order of Inca in 1956.
Sketches, like this one by Jim Gray, are the creative basis of designs that eventually become floats in every parade. Ok, now I think #13 is ready to release.
Thank you for reading along.