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  • Writer's pictureThe Jim Gray Gallery

Young Love... and Borrowed License...

Many of the folks that Jim portrayed in his Joy of Life Parade were familiar to the family, and therefore we had little trouble defining them. This Lady, in top hat and tuxedo, with perhaps a green cardigan sweater over it all, was a mystery. Young, beautiful, and so prominent in her placement in the Parade, I was never exactly certain that I wanted to know who she was... until the truth came out, from that precious notebook that Dad had written so many of the back stories.

Having asked Dad several times of the previous months, if he could give me any clues to who the pretty lady in the tux was, he had always drawn a blank. The day I walked into his room and showed him the painting again and asked if he recalled his first grade teacher, Miss McClure, he sort of chuckled and said "I sure do... when I started grade school, I thought she was the prettiest lady I had ever seen."

Today, as I again ponder the "whys" of so many characters being dressed quite unlike who they actually were, I see the cardigan sweater as the Teacher Miss McClure presented to the school, and the top hat and tux as the Show Stopper young James Cleneth Gray saw in his minds eye.

The "Borrowed License " referred to in the title of this post is Artistic License. In a phone conversation between Maine and Indiana, when I was trying to piece together what Dad's intentions were in some of the features included in the Joy of Life Parade, Dad effectively gave me the OK to use his License... Artistic License that is. Here is a little video clip I cobbled together with the raw audio from that phone conversation in February and a photo of Dad in March 2019. Note the old Advertising man in Jim Gray, giving me advise on copy writing. I love you, Dad!


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