I come from an area of Wis. called Fox river Valley. It consists of 5 or six towns all in an L shape. Neenah, Menasha, Appleton. Kaukauna, & Little Chute, & Kimberly.
Green Bay is 15 miles away from my dad's farm. Houdini lived in Appleton as a child, & Edna Ferber was there when writing her "Silver Threads among the Gold". Kimberly is where Kleenex came from, at Kimberly-Clark paper mills. When a teenager I sat on the banks of the river and sketched the plant one night, then painted it and my cousin who worked at KC put it on the cover of their magazine. When you eat the Kaukauna club cheese, Kaukauna is where it is made. Also once when I was a teen, there was a Wis. state contest, to paint something scenic. I painted a picture of an old water-wheel along a stone wall of an old retired paper mill in Kaukauna, and although it did not win; I did get "honorable mention" in the state wide competition. While in high school I also entered a state wide fashion drawing competition, to win art school. Again I did not win, but did receive honorable mention in that statewide contest. There were only 3 winners, & 4 honorable mentions.
When we moved to the Fox Valley area, to my dad's new farm, I entered 1st grade in St. Edwards Catholic School. It was only a 4 corners village, with the church on one side of the state highway from the school. Next to the school on same side of road was the general store. Those days were around 1942 or 43. Then they still made religious Christmas cards and they often had nice colored foil & ribbon in them. So, in 1st or 2nd grade I took the cards and made 'bookmarks' out of what I could get ahold of. (Buying anything from town was not an option in those days, the war was still going on!) I sold these at school for 2 cents each. The store was next door to the school & we were permitted to go there, and good candy like Mars bars & Hersey's were only 5 cents, and the greatest ice cream bars; Eskimo Pies were only 10 cents!! I made the most of the proceeds! We walked the half to school in those days, unless the snow banks were so high you couldn't walk thru them. Then a neighbor of ours loved to shoot the snow banks in his car, so he took all the kids along the road!
In 1957 I married, and later raised 5 kids. One painting I did during my first pregnancy, was my first oil painting and I would change it 53 years later. But I did no more painting in the child raising years, instead I sewed their clothes and much of my own and "cowboy shirts" for my sister & husband & 2 sons. My sister rode in the horse shows & contests. Well I did paint the horses on her horse trailer and any signs my dad needed for his horse farm or for shows he held. As the children grew up, we lived in Appleton, I held a Wis. realtor's license, and sold houses.
We must have moved to Omaha in the 1980s. At first, I worked at Ben Franklin's in Papillion where I was head of the craft dept. The boss was going to the national Ben Franklin show in Boston and asked me to design a craft & all the instructions for him to submit. So, I designed a raffia Indian girl doll, with our products on it and we won 3rd prize, to my great surprise! So, the next year we did it all over again, and I designed a 1910 wedding bride out of paper ribbon & lace & foam cones, and again we won 3rd prize. The ribbon was called Paper Capers, & I could do wonders with it!
Now in my retired years I have for 16 years brought the children in our church's grade school craft classes. I furnish everything and they are able to make something they are proud to show to their mother! Each set of 2 grades get about 3 classes a year. For 12 yrs. I did a craft at girl's camp, but this year I have retired from that! I hope to keep on painting as long as I can hold a paint brush and every time, I thank God in amazement for giving me that ability. To repay him I did the craft classes for his children in the school. While living in Papillion I held craft classes for children on some Sunday afternoons and for adult ladies on some evenings from my home.