She was the ex-wife of Hubert Humphrey’s son. When she called I didn’t know that. She just said she was interested in two paintings – The yellow chair, and The truth about you. I was thrilled. Yes, of course, I could deliver. The yellow chair was huge, but I was fueled with excitement. Before I brought the paintings in, she walked me around her place. I was surprised by all the dignitaries hanging on her wall. Was that her with the president? With the queen? Who was this woman? I just kept smiling. She kept talking. And picture by picture, word by word she revealed who she was — her world living as a Humphrey – (the closest I had been before was to the airport). We had tea, (the first time I had ever had tea), and she told me of her marriage, her divorce, the indiscretions, and I felt like I was in a movie. We hung both paintings, and I drove away. Forever changed — not because I was now hanging next to the closest thing I knew to “royalty” — I’ve never cared that much about that — no, it was because I was let in, let into her world, and trusted with her story. And to me, that’s everything.
I was in the seventh grade when I wrote my first novel (forgive me, it was really just a long story.) Hand written on lined paper. Stapled. I read it to my friend, Cindy Lanigan. I have no idea now what it was about. I don’t even have a copy. But I remember sitting in my yellow bedroom, reading it to her. It is terrifying to share your creations – your life – your heart. But she let me in. She listened and responded and we talked about life and Carol Burnett and everything seemed achievable. Quite possibly giving me the courage to continue.
What a thing it is to be let in. I carry with me every open door. Every open heart. Every person who smiled on me, and listened. Who trusted on me, and shared. And I am forever home. Forever possible.