For my Guru, Dr. Mishra.

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Once upon a time, a long long time ago, in 1942 to be exact, in a very small village in upstate New York called Saugerties [()] there was born a girl-child [()] named Linda Mary Montano. Her father told her she was named after an independent businesswoman who lived in the village. So her name meant independence and loveliness. What a tall order but a noble goal for Little Linda! And her middle name Mary [()] was the Catholic component. Linda had two brothers, one sister, and very creative parents. [()] Her father [()] played in an orchestra that he helped found and her mother [()] sang in the orchestra and was a painter.

Linda's childhood was like the childhood of all girls born in the early 1940's and raised in a conservative village atmosphere. Memories of outdoor winter sports, horseback riding, swimming and tap dance lessons plus hours in church observing the Catholic Saints, ceremonies and rituals filled her days. [()] Her mother said that she was a wonderful child.

But Little Linda had a mixed heritage and mixed emotions. Her stately silent and dignified Italian grandparents fascinated her as did her other incredible grandmother, Nan. [()] She visited Nan everyday and watched her sew clothes, quilts, make food from road kill and often Nan would take her teeth out and sing at holiday gatherings. All of her grandparents fascinated her. She studied them closely and Little Linda felt lucky to be part of this fairy tale.

WHAT LINDA LEARNED FROM THE YEARS 1942 - 1952

1. Parents change diapers, make trillions of meals to feed us, spend untold amounts of money on our clothing, education and well-being.

2. Adult art is a collage of childhood images, dreams, memories and needs.

3. Gratitude goes to our parents and grandparents for handing down their love of creativity.

4. Reproducing the "smells" of childhood that produced our early ecstasies is a subconscious agenda of artists.

5. There is always a creative way to empower a seeming lack of power.

6. Influencing others is a constant conscious choice for some and inevitably comes with age. Like it or not we are always visible.

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