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BATIK ART BY JONATHAN S. EVANS
Confessions of an Itinerant Batik Artist

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BACK IN THE OLD USA! (Trying to go home again)

 

We had come back to the East Coast so that Catherine could go back to school to pursue her interest in conflict resolution. We knew that there was a post-graduate course at George Mason University in Northern Virginia. On our second day in Washington, we borrowed Patch's car and drove out there so that Catherine could get some information about the course. We were staying for a few days at the Gesundheit House in Arlington with our very close friends, Patch and his wife Lynda and Gareth, the cyberpunk writer and his jazz vocalist wife, Pam. There was a morose teenage boy at the house there as well as two ebullient five-year-old boys. It was a lively and dynamic atmosphere and both of us liked the idea of moving in there while Catherine was at school. Neither of us thought that we would stay in that area after Catherine completed her course, assuming that she was accepted into the next program. There was apparently very stiff competition to get into the Conflict Analysis and Resolution Clinic where many students applied but only a few were accepted. We had made a deal that we would go traveling again as soon as she graduated so it seemed that our stay in the area was only going to be for two or three years.

Mid-December found us down at Catherine's parentsí house in rural Bath County where Catherine walked straight into a seasonal job as a waitress at the Homestead Resort Hotel over Christmas. This was a period of readjustment after our travels and after so much new imput over the past year. I wasn't at all sure that I wanted to continue to be based in the States. Of course I still felt that America had a tremendous potential but the country seemed to be as far from realizing it as it had ever been. And I found America incredibly insular. Once one was back on US soil, it felt as if America was the center of the world and that all the rest of the world only existed in relation to America. This was caused by the immense power of the Media which managed to create a world picture in which America, like the famous painting of New York, loomed large in the center of the world landscape while the other continents were dotted like islands somewhere out on the horizon. A young girl's death in a car accident attracted far more attention than the death of two hundred and fifty thousand Indians in Bangla Desh floods. I felt that my global view would be eroded away if I stayed in America for very long. But we decided to settle on the East Coast at least until Catherine found out if she had been accepted for her course. If she was, we would then commit to staying in the Washington area a further two years.

We made a trip over to West Virginia before Christmas and although it was fun to see all our friends again, both of us realized that our life in the mountains was firmly in the past. This time we had no desire whatsoever to move back there again. We had made that mistake once already. We got ready for Christmas in Virginia, cut down a fir tree for the house, made a big, rich Christmas steamed pudding and wrote a lot of letters. Patch formally offered us a room in the big group house in Arlington and we went back up there to discuss the details with him and the others. I could have most of the garage at the house for a studio, it was all a little expensive but we would be walking straight into a great situation. We judged it all to be worth it and would move into Gesundheit in the New Year.

Catherine's parents were as always super-supportive and we based ourselves at their log cabin house near Goshen Pass, Bath County while we reacclimatised ourselves and prepared to move to the nation's capital. Our transportation scene had to be gotten together and once again Mary and Dick helped us out. Two years before, when our Subaru car was destroyed in our car accident, I had traded a batik landscape to friends of ours for a vintage 1965 American Rambler car. This was a classic of its time, a solidly, built to last, family sedan. Catherine's parents had recently bought a new truck and offered to trade us their old Toyota one ton truck for the Rambler. This was a great deal for us. It was rather like Jack trading his goose for a bean, only in reverse for we had in essence traded a painting for a truck.

We spent Christmas in Bath County. Catherine was working with her brother Michael at the Homestead most of the time and I lay low, read and watched videos on the TV.

I went for a final physical therapy session on my wrist, still very stiff and sore and limited in its strength and movement after our accident early the year before. Two years were almost past and it would soon be time for the insurance company to make some kind of settlement with us. The last day of 1991 was cold but clear and bright and I spent it alone over in Pocahontas County at a rather tame neighbourhood party. A Brand New Year, a brand new ray of hope, I thought to myself as the New Year, always so full of promise, was toasted. Vive La Change! I said to myself.

 

 

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