Fun Monday #33, Save This Work of Art

Sayre is hosting todays event. She asked the participants to:

Brush off your interview skills. Talk to everyone who lives in your house. I want to know what their, and your, favorite piece of art is in your home. Photographs do not count. If there was a fire in your home, everyone would grab photographs, but what is the non-photographic piece of art you would grab on your way out - and why? (Edit: These don't have to be paintings - these can be wall hangings, statues, lumps of clay by your child, anything that is artistic expression of some kind EXCEPT photographs.)

* * * * *

In 1969, the hubby, assigned to the submarine USS Grampus (SS532), participated in a Good Will Tour dubbed by the Navy as UNITAS X.

They navigated the Panama Canal and headed south along the beautiful western coastline of South America.

The second stop was Salinas, Ecuador.

Vendors set up on the docks to sell their wares to the tourists and travelers, some arriving on Cruise Lines or private luxury yachts.

There was weaving, pottery, hats, and footwear. All hand made by the local and mountain artists.

Carvers of wood entranced the young sailor. These mountain dwellers came down from the high elevations with their own special designs: bowls, animals, musical instruments, and home decorations.

It was the 33 inch tall self-portrait of one of these men that captured his imagination.

"How much?" inquired my future husband.

"Seventy-five dollars, " was the reply.

"I can't spend that much, I wish I could."

"Hmmm... wait! Five dollars and two packs American cigarettes." the vendor called to the hubby's back.

With that offer the hubby became the owner of an original piece of art.

You may think that should end the story. It does not.

Several sailors from a cruiser and a destroyer also purchased original little wooden men. Their ships were large enough to accommodate their acquisitions.

Unfortunately, the hubby had extremely limited space on a conventional submarine. Where to put his little purchase was going to be a big problem.

His personal area included a 30-inch wide, by shoulder width deep, by six foot length bunk .
There was a five inch shelf for clothing accessed by lifting his mattress.

He had two choices. Sell his little man to a surface sailor, or keep him on the submarine in his bunk. He chose to share his bunk with his new mate for over four months and 20,000 miles.

The other two little men did not survive their trip home. They cracked so badly that they could not be repaired.

The controlled atmosphere in the submarine around the tip of South America must have kept him in good condition. (Not to mention the cuddles from a very handsome young sailor.)

The little mountain man has lived in our house for many years.

If there was a fire in our home, we would do our best to save the original pastel portrait of our daughters, my watercolors portraits of my grandchildren, the school art done by our daughters, and our little wooden mountain man from Ecuador.

(Our little wooden mountain man out on the deck for a better picture)


ablondeblogger said…
Ha! I just left Sayre's place and headed here. :)

As talented as you are, I would hope that your house never catches on fire (well, for more reasons than just that,lol)

I have LOVED every single one of your watercolors you've posted here!
tlawwife said…
What a great story. Can't imagine how glad he was to drop off that man and have his bunk back to himself.
Karmyn R said…
Little mountain man? More like - Freaky little dude that scared us everytime we saw him looking at us.
my4kids said…
The things sailors can come back with can be pretty neat! My dad was on a Navy destroyer for several years before I was born and then until I was 12 and brought home a lot of really interensting things from around the world. He didn't have much more space either but more then a submarine sailor did.
Beccy said…
I think he's great and love how he made it safely to you.
Gwen said…
Hi Pamela.
What a great story,that mountain man was ment to be yours.
The girls and I are knitting knee rugs,and they are done in one piece
thank you for your visit see you soon.
Stay Well
karisma said…
What a wonderful story! I would save him too!
Hootin'Anni said…
Oh word, AWESOME!!!!

[loved the story, love this whole blog's a great one]
LittleJen said…
Hi Pamela,

Yes im still around, loved the story.
I like your heading photo very clever
Robin said…
Interesting, I wasn't expecting a carving from you... But this story is one that has been begging to be told; glad you had reason to tell it now :).

I don't have a FM post this week, didn't feel up to it, but I'm trying to visit everyone anyway.
Shelby said…
Terrific story!!
BarnGoddess said…
haha, I am laughing over Karmyn's comment!

cool mountain man dude...even cooler is the story behind him.
Masago said…
It is amazing the journeys that some art objects have taken. Enjoyed!
swampy said…
You are going to publish this aren't you?
What a wonderful "documentary" for your children/grandchildren to have.
I love the little mountain man. He would be right at home at my house.
Karmyn's comment makes me laugh. Isn't it amazing how kids see things?
nikki said…
I love the little wooden man and the great story that came with it. Great job.
lisa's chaos said…
I love your little man! I can't imagine sharing a bunk with him for four months but I'm so glad your husband made it home with him! He's really neat!
Debs said…
Lovely story. Great post!! :D
I think the next question should be: if there was one life moment you wish you had a photograph of, which would it be?

'Cause I suspect a photo of your husband sharing his bunk with a wooden Equador man would be kinda cute.
min said…
What a lovely carving!! I would love to have that freaky little traveling guy (who sleeps with men). I think he's marvelous.
Amanda said…
That thing scared me half to death as a child. ALMOST as much as the indian painting. I used to close my eyes and run past the living room so I didn't have to look at your "mountain man"
coffeypot said…
I wonder what the other "sewer pipe" shipmates thought of him sleeping with his little man. Four month and 20,000 miles is too long to sleep in another human, much less a wooden statue. He has more determination than I do. It would have ended up as a toothpick supply if it had been me. It is pretty cool, though.
Tiggerlane said…
What a fantastic story! Okay, you are hereby commanded to take photos of all your paintings and watercolors, post them online so that they live on forever. will have peace in grabbing that little man!! He is waaaaay cool, and the story makes him priceless!
Heather said…
What a great story! And I LOVE your little mountain man!
What a great story to accompany your man. Antiques Roadshow here comes Pamela!
SwampAngel65 said…
That "little" wooden guy is so cool! It's the stories behind the art that make them special, and this guy sure has an interesting past!
Truly enjoyed your post and the story of the wooden man. I have to agree with what everyone else posted in their comments. I don't know what the heck I would grab if a fire broke out. My genealogy for sure but other than that it is just "stuff". Have a nice day.
susan said…
Amazing! I love the little man and even more the story behind how he arrived home with your sailor.
PEA said…
Such a fascinating story and talk about a well traveled piece of art:-) xox
dawn said…
That is an awesome story, and with the devotion he showed the little wooden mountain man, it is no wonder he is still doing so well. He definitely deserves a place of honour, and I think the story would make a good kids book should you need ideas to start writing stories for children. You could call it "Little Mountain Man"
Dallas said…
The man is very interesting and has a great story to go with it.
Kila said…
Yeah, he would be freaky to kids, but now I think he is very cool. I'm glad he survived all these years. Great story.
Joy T. said…
I didn't participate this week but I'm still visiting :o) And so glad I did because I loved this! What a story and the little man certainly has stood up over time because he looks great.
what a terrific story!
Heather said…
i don't know if i love the statue more or the story!
Simply Jenn said…
Pam, since I instituted compliment instead of comment day on my blog I just want you to know that you are my ideal of a mother and grandmother. I wish my mom were more like you.

I also love your pics and stories and I appreciate our email conversation a few months over a delicate (ahem) issue.
Kathleen Marie said…
Awesome! That is a great piece of art. Boy, I would have to think long and hard on this one...My four kids have created some wonderful treasures over the years.

Have a great week.
Jenni said…
I *love* your little mountain man! He's so cool! I think I would have given up bunk space and four months worth of comfortable sleep to bring him home as well.
Tiger Lamb Girl said…
Wow, that's a long time to share a bunk! I love the carving of the little man. Very nice.
Kaytabug said…
What an amazing story!! That is one beautiful piece of art!!
wendster said…
I, too, would love to see a photo of those two sharing a bunk. And what a discount!!! From 75 to 5. Sounds like shopping in Tijuana. But I never got that big of a discount. Great story! Thanks for visiting Becca's blog.
wolfbaby said…
gese is there anything you can't turn into a story? just curious.. i mean not that i have story envey or anything


or painting talent envy

*cough, cough*


so ya think we could ever work a trade or something on paintings? that would be cool;)
Susie Q said…
This was such a fantastic read dear Pamela.
And I laughed out loud when I read your daughter's comments here...


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