- Joy Krauthammer
Want to talk about building expensive wooden wheelchair ramps? The carpenter whom I commissioned, used without my permission, reused, old, dirty partially painted wood, "from a Sukkah," he said when I saw the results and questioned him. I needed to get Marcel into the house from the hospital, so I kept the four well-built but messy looking ramps. The truth is that now at this time, Marcel really does his own chair rolling up and down so I don't have to push or pull 200 pounds unless necessary.
I had such a good time painting the ramps myself (saving $) to protect the wood from environment and hide the "Sukkah" mess. I could have been Tom Sawyer and charged people to participate in painting. It was a FREEING EXPERIENCE to slather the paint brush in wild long strokes where ever I chose, painting even where it would not show. I only needed one coat but I painted two coats having such a good time. I painted over the peace signs, music notes and hearts I first painted all over, knowing I could do it again in other colors. (My earlier decorated symbols of joy are still visibly impressed on my cement sidewalk.) OK, maybe spray painting would have been faster, as a friend admonished me.
Color? I did not want to be accused of purple partiality, so instead of painting my favorite purple to match my periwinkle purple SUV, I decided the outside ramps in front of house would blend with the garden's pink petunias, bougainvillaeas and oleanders. Some street salesman agreed with me, as I had color paint swatches on my rust orange tiled front patio, that nothing I wanted went with the brown house.
Result: perfect fuscia match and I smile at the shocking pink, outrageous ridiculousness of it all with each entry and exit of my home. Sort of what my backyard squeezable, squeaky, yellow rubber duckies (buoyant 'quackers') do for me. Gotta laugh! I was not so bold indoors and after painting ramps a boring color, bought some carpeting to go over it. Anyone have a staple gun, glue or carpet nails so I can finish the job? Still must water proof the paint job from rain.
About twenty years ago I finished seven pieces of large furniture and a ping pong table. In between, I had forgotten how much I loved using a brush. That was probably around the time I was painting (glazing) my ceramic artwork also. I'd even painted my ceramic drum a dozen years ago--the dumbek I'd used in performance accompanying Reb Shlomo Carlebach, z’l.
Guess the secret is that I never got over and transcended the commandment I'd received from my 1969 Queens College painting professor when he wrote me a reference letter for the full-time graduate art school Max Beckmann scholarship that I received for ceramics study. "I’ll write the reference,but never pick up a paint brush again."
(Since Marcel is on a sleeping pill, I can take this diversion down memory lane.)
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Here is a photo I shot recently, maybe 8 years after the ramps were painted. I took photo because I bought a new front door mat to lead to the ramp at the front door. I love the coloring. The other ramp I gave away to a neighbor who appreciated receiving it due to her wheelchair needs. I still use this ramp because I shlep my wheeled suitcases filled with music and the ramps make shelpping a bit easier.
Seen on the Street
© Joy Krauthammer
— The Rebbe