Ann Mary Robinson painted this scene, but that name isn’t how you know her (Careful–this just may be a Jeopardy question at some point). She pursued what she believed in. On, not in a showy way, but she accepted life’s restrictions and continued onward, right ’til the day she died at age 101. Most of those years weren’t easy, and I’m sure, at times, she wondered if she’d make it.
On a farm in upstate New York, this widow and mother of ten (5 died in infancy) worked long hours, trying to get by. In any leisure time (and there was little of that), she embroidered pastoral scenes of the everyday life of farmers, and her needlework hung in local drugstores and shops. But in her mid-70’s, she had to forego her craft, since arthritis robbed her of digital dexterity.
It was then she switched to painting (manipulating a brush was easier) and her pastoral scenes almost leapt off the canvas.
But how do you know her? She’s Grandma Moses.
Ann Mary Robinson was “discovered,” at age 76, by a passing merchant who found her paintings inspiring. He bought them for $10.00 a piece and brought them to New York City where they were appreciated for their “naive style.”
Following that, her work began appearing in art galleries in New York City and throughout Europe. In her late 70’s, Grandma Moses was becoming a household word and a famed international artist.
This painter/artist is true embodiment of writer George Elliott’s quote: “You’re never too old to become who you might have been.” Simply put: Stop assuming you’re “done” at 30…40…60, and go on to discover your true self. Its message is all the more fitting today. Why? Many of us will live well into our 90’s. That means: We may work at several jobs and develop multiple interests and hobbies before we finally hang up our spurs.
Those of us who retired already may realize we don’t wish to spend all our time golfing or eating out (even Lee Iacoco of Chrysler Corp. said “There are just so many luncheons.”) We may consider other forms of work, another career, one more in keeping with our avocation… the interests we always had but couldn’t pursue.
In other words, many of us will be on a path of self-discovery all our lives, and that is a good thing.
I’m doing that now. I side-lined my interest in writing for years since it was too unpredictable as income-provider. Like Ann Mary, I was a widow and had a family to support (Oh, the not the 5 kids she had), so I worked the jobs I needed to, while pursuing my other interests in whatever free time I had.
During those years, I made periodic forays into the world of publication, sending material to editors, newspapers, and magazines. I braced myself, too, for the inevitable disappointments and challenges (there were many). But small successes drove me on, as my material was accepted here and there. I was becoming a ‘published’ writer.
Grandma Moses (the inspiration for “Biddy” in my blog title) is my hero because she never stopped achieving in life. Most of her life was spent in performing the daily arduous tasks on a farm, those repetitive jobs that require little talent other than commitment. But all the while she stored the pictures in her mind of the simple joys of her day and those became the subject of her craft.
Grandma Moses, the quintessential personna of George Elliott’s “It’s never too late to become who you might have been.”
Send this post to another who fears he or she is too old (and that could be a 40-year-old) to develop his talent or better yet, consider the message yourself. If you don’t know what your talent is, you’ve time–yet–to figure it out. If you have figured it out and are presently doing just that, please share your journey with the rest of us, so we can be further encouraged. Comment section is below; just click on, enter the necessary info. and you’re “on.”
**And by the way, if you hear in Jeopardy –“Ann Mary Robinson,” you’ll now know to say: “What is Grandma Moses?”
Information compliments of Wikipedia.org