Thursday, April 28, 2011
Hole in my heart
Last week I got a message to call my Uncle Dave in Santa Barbara. He's in his late eighties and is in the final stages of life with a brain tumor. I made the call and surprised myself with my own honest expression of my emotional state... something I normally keep, if not hidden, at least camouflaged.
Dave Smith is a highly regarded architect and has designed many of the larger homes in Santa Barbara. His use of Spanish tile roofing was quickly copied by others when in the '90s, Santa Barbara was hit by a series of large fires. The only houses left standing in the ravaged areas were Dave's tile-roofed structures.
When Jack in the Box Restaurants wanted a national redesign of their eateries, Dave got the contract.
He was very influential in my life. When I saw his gouache architectural renderings as a child, I chose to pursue art, which led to college-level classes on a scholarship at Carnegie Institute at age 14. Later, I chose commercial art (now called graphic design) as a way to keep myself in food and art at the same time. My graphic design business led to publishing, my current occupation.
In the early '90s, Bliss and I would stay at Dave's large cliffside home while we worked selling ads in Southern California for our fledgling Collector's Guide publication. Dave fed us tri-tip roasts from the barbie in the evenings, and made us pancakes in the morning. We would eat on his treetop patio, so high we could see the oil rigs seven miles out in the Pacific Ocean.
And he would take us sailing in his Santa Cruz 27 racing sloop. We learned to sail in and out of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club harbor without a motor, tacking through traffic to his slip. Dave was a charter member of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, and in 2000, was told he no longer needed to pay his annual dues... the board felt he had paid enough in his lifetime.
We would go the SBYC for an occasional lunch, sitting in the glittering crystal finery, being served by immaculate uniformed waiters and waitresses.
Dave got us started in sailing.
We wait for the news, bags packed.