We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Gift

           Kimberly loved photography.  She used to have one of the best Pentax cameras money could buy.  She took courses while in high school and college at Kutztown University and at Lehigh University.  She was enrolled for real at Kutztown U (artist Keith Haring and Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Andre Reed graduated from Kutztown) to study art.  One of her Dad's best friends taught photography at Lehigh U and would let Kim attend the class for free!  She did some great work there.  Lehigh recently attained some sports fame for knocking #1 Duke out of the NCAA tournament in March (Lehigh was ranked #64 and squeaked into the tourney after beating Bucknell on the final day of the season).
          Kim's photos always presented a unique perspective.  She loved to take photos in black and white - feeling it brought out more of the detail and forced the viewer to really study the shot.

           Recently, I discovered that Autumn has a love for photography...and some talent, too!  Midway through the year, she joined the JOII club (Jr. Optimist Club, perfect, right?  To follow in her Mama's footsteps!) and Ashley Curtis, the teacher who leads the children in this club, really helped her to blossom!  She helped make sack lunches for Casa Maria woman's shelter, collected books for needy children in the Sunnyside School District in Tucson's southside and helped at Casa De Los Ninos, a wonderful organization that Kim and I had done work for over the years we've lived here - they have a variety of children's services.  Ashley instilled a strong sense of community through the JOII club, gave the children a vehicle to experience giving back and did it in such an enthusiastic way touching all of the children!
          One of the things Ashley focused on, outside of community service, was teaching the kids photography.  They took several field trips.  One to Winter Haven over Christmas break to capture the myriad of Christmas lights.  The group went to Reid Park in central Tucson, taking beautiful nature shots.  And, one of the coolest trips - Ashley took them into the heart of Tucson on a mural hunting field trip and they took pictures of the neatest graffiti artwork there!  Cienega High School also helped mentor the kids and helped them with technique and angles. 
         All along, Ashley would tell me about the comments Autumn's work was receiving from peers, teachers and photographers. 
         Another neat lesson Ashley taught the children, was public speaking.  She gave them opportunities to present their photos to the Cottonwood Elementary School's Site Based Council (I may have been the only member of the council tearing up that day!) and, tying everything back into community, at an exhibit downtown at the Tucson Temple of Music and Art.  The kids each had to speak about their favorite photo and what they were trying to capture.  Then, they auctioned off their best piece and sold several of their other favorite photos.  All proceeds benefited Tu Nudito, another wonderful organization that helps children who have lost a loved one or have one very sick in the hospital.

                        The whole evening was so professionally done.  At the entrance to the Temple, each photographer had a photo of them selves, their best picture blown up and on canvas and a brief bio on an easel.  Autumn chose her outfit and only lamented that she did not know how to do her own hair.  I told her it looks beautiful just combed down, the way it is pictured here.

The Temple was built in 1927 and has fantastic architecture!!  Here is a view from the balcony.  The neighborhood is beautiful barrios style with brightly painted homes.

The entry plaza features a large fountain and saltillo tile.  A young lady played the violin during the show.  Ashley's parents are pictured here enjoying the music.

Each photographer had a table to display their photos, which were for sale.  Here is Autumn's, posing with some 'fans' who came to support her - Ami Bunch (Cody's Kindergarten teacher - she has triplets and her daughter, Hunter, is just to her right) and Mary Montes (Aut and Tonio's K teacher - I couldn't fit her daughter, Brinley, in this shot).

She found all of this art work throughout downtown (and more, this is just a sampling)

Here, she captures a can falling.  Kim worked hard at this technique - Autumn seems to have it down already!  I remember jumping off a guardrail on Route 378 so Kim could try to catch me in the air on film.

I'm not sure why this transferred so small, but, this 'Peace' sign was on the roof of a home in Winter Haven.

There are others that I don't have files for and hope to post them in the future...

                          Autumn was the first to auction off her favorite piece, blown up and on canvas.  She took a picture of her and her friend's shadow on the playground!  The auction was fast paced and exciting!

Autumn and Ashley in front of her work.

Antonio enjoyed the show and snacks/beverages served!

The bambini on the Temple's side balcony.

Man, I just loved the neighborhood - I could so live there!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

   Miscellaneous...I find that a lot of events and photos have not quite evolved into full blown blogs...while others, are still in the works and I just haven't had the time to bring them fully alive.  It's been a good week - not that I know what day it is today, but, that we have had 6 or 7 pretty good days.
    I can see Antonio coming back...He's been the slowest to rebound.  Requiring every ounce of energy I have and attention.  Thank you to all of you who have helped prop him up and given him random hugs to make him feel whole.  He is so deep and thoughtful - each night, wishing his Mama a good night in Heaven and telling her that he hopes she is enjoying it there.  Each day, visiting her garden at school and tending to it lovingly.  He has certainly had his ups and his downs - but, I've noticed, more of that sweet, happy, lovable boy shining through of late.
    What haunts me most about Tonio, is, that night I had to tell him that we were losing his Mama.  I remember the chaplain at St. Joseph's, Wendy, shepherding us into a private sitting room off of that horror show of a surgery waiting room on the third floor of St. Joseph's.  Leaving behind the comfort of our southwest family and friends.  It had that dream like quality of being neither real nor an illusion.  And I thought, how can I do this?  Kim was always the one to help the bambini through emotional problems and tough situations.  But I needed to be the one...
      When I explained the situation to the bambini, there was dead silence.  Like that eerie calm before a major storm hits...and then, it sank in.  The meaning reaching down into their souls, tearing their little hearts out.
      But what comes to me in my dreams nightmares most vividly, is Tonio's reaction.

      He stands in the middle of the room, dawning realization removing the smile from his loving face slowly, like a wave receding down the sand on the beach...going paler and paler. 
      His actions seared into my memory... I can't write about the rest...
      ...Anyway, he has found his way - becoming so helpful and even more loving and caring than ever...I feel so blessed to have him (and Cody and Autumn of course - but, being that Tonio was the most lost, it is a relief to see him smile more and more!).

At the UofA v Stanford baseball game.

Learning to dive at the Sunshine Swim School

Sporting the new Tony Hawk t-shirt that Angie gave him for Easter

                                       Tonio, Autumn and Brinley at Peter Piper Pizza with their kindergarten teacher, Mary Montes.

With one of his best buddies, Bryson at Joe's Crab Shack for David's birthday party

                                Fighting off boa's at the Reid Park Zoo with great friend Breanna


And his best little friend from Cottonwood, Monsi!

                                   It seems like Tonio has found his way - his good friends and family have helped him find his smile and he is regaining his confidence...And he makes me smile and laugh every day!!