The following was written by my late wife Elaine. She wrote a long book, a diary really, from which this is one passage:
The Detroit Institute of Art staff took an interest in me, their youngest co-worker, and enjoyed hearing about “my fiance’s Philippine Islands experiences.”
Since I got letters from Dave almost every day (I wrote him every day, too), I always had new things to tell them. I have a picture of all of us Art Institute employees seated around two large banquet tables on the lower floor of the museum for a catered banquet, and it resembles a scene from some old castle in a black-and-white movie.
I loved this job, learned a lot about art and artists, and enjoyed the people and appreciated their support and interest in the year and a half I knew them. Besides secretarial work, I typed and mounted labels for each object in new exhibits sent on loan, and I helped type catalogs for these exhibits. I left the job in December 1953, just before our wedding.
The Internet had not been even imagined 52 years ago, and sometime in 2001, Dave found the Detroit Institute of Arts on the Internet, with pictures of the building and some of its art, and I ordered a current Visitor’s Guide with illustrations of 700 items from their collection. I love it! How exciting to have this trip down Memory Lane! And I can go back to their site anytime to see specific galleries on my computer.
I would love to go back for one more visit. Not to see people – those I knew would all be gone now – but to see the place again. And Diego Rivera’s famous wall murals on the subject of Industrial Detroit. And everything that’s now in the D. I. A. collection. And tell somebody that I was there, in 1950! It would be fun to show them all the photos of the entire staff having dinner there, 52 years ago. (Today it’s January, 2002).
(Editor’s Note: Elaine died of vascular dementia in March of 2003)
To be continued…
About the Author: RD Blakeslee is a nonagenarian in West Virginia who built his net worth by only investing in that which can be enjoyed during acquisition and throughout life, as opposed to papers in a drawer, like stocks and bonds. You can read more about him here.
Photos: Courtesy of the Blakeslee Family