|Uncle Carl's sketch about 1950|
After he returned home from WWII he enrolled in commercial art courses using his GI educational benefits. He was a natural artist, a gene that runs through the Ostrowski family, but he was unable to make a living at it. Instead he went to work for the local gas company as a repairman, lineman, meter reader, all activities that allowed him to be outdoors, and supplemented his income by painting commercial signs. Often he would take a photo of something and then sketch or paint it.
Cleaning out his home, I found this card and was astounded at the precise detail; I don't know the purpose of this sketch, if this is something he sold or did this just to amuse himself. When I asked him about this watch sketch he said, "Oh I did lots of those.." Often when painting a commercial sign he would first sketch it in miniature. What concentrationhe had to reproduce perfect detail; today time has taken that skill along with many of his physical abilities.
We will soon be making our journey to visit him and check on things; he and his wife had no children so after his sister died in 2009, the responsibility came to me. I had to be the one to get him into the facility with help from his doctor; he calls it, "the Club" and is amenable and content there. Time has marched on, to the beat of a strange rhythm. No one expected Uncle Carl to outlive all his siblings; he has outlived heart bypass surgery in his 60's, high blood pressure and genetic high cholesterol. He takes no medications other than when he gets pneumonia or an infection that necessitates antibiotics. Still it is sad to see someone who was once so robust weakened, with dementia and unable to live in his own home.
This is a photo he intended to sketch someday, but time got away from him; it was on the wall in his basement workshop. He had noted, "my favorite girls" on the back; the girls are his wife Marge who passed in 1997 and me. His sisters used to ask him, "what about me" which would geta big laugh from Carl in reply. After Marge told me he was planning to sketch this each time I visited over the years I had to ask if he had sketched us yet; he'd reply, "Sometime you just have to wait." Somewhere I have a better copy of this on which he had some tiny black spots, maybe from an ink pen or paint brush.
|1986 Left to Right Aunt Marge, Uncle Carl, Me |
One of our visits to PA.
|Uncle Carl with the boy's electronic|