Friday, April 9, 2010

Trip to DC... I'll be back later by train

Say the name "Vollis Simpson" and most people won't know who you're talking about. I discovered ole Vollie a dozen years ago at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where one of his whirligigs -- and I can see it right now -- rested with repressed energy against a wall. I fell in love immediately, walked back and forth in front of it and then to the back of the room so I could see it from a different view.

Last summer I visited more of his work at the American Visionary Museum in Baltimore and was again blown away. Imagine my joy when ole Vollie, now 91 and still tinkering, was profiled in the NY Times.

Why, I ask myself, did I fall in love with his work? Or with other works of art that I saw yesterday during a pleasure trip to Washington, DC. What accounts for love? Is it experiences from our childhood?

I particularly love African sculpture. Did you know that the Smithsonian Institute has a Museum of African Art? Never knew myself until I went there yesterday. I bought a new camera -- a Canon -- and made darn sure I knew how to use it before I left. I stood at the counter at Staples and had Josh personally assist me. Then today I went back to Staples so I could learn how to VIEW the photos I took. I'm illiterate when it comes to reading handbooks. I took notes while he was explaining it to me.

Showed Scott all my fantastic photos. Most were of the African art and of the people on our bus trip, sponsored by the Friends of the Fox Chase Library. I also photographed any interesting folks I met along the way, like Don from Ghana, who was a trash collector at a rest stop in Maryland, a very nice man who said I was a noble woman.

Sometimes I leave these statements in here like 'noble woman' and when I read it back later I remove them b/c it sounds like I'm bragging. I'll probly leave it in, tho.

Also took a couple shots of Phil, our Hagey Coach bus driver, a distinguished looking man orig. from Hershey. When I got off the bus, he said to me, "Good luck getting to Yosemite." I'd asked him if Hagey drove out west and he said no, take a plane. We'll probly take a train.

A word about the Pope and the pedophiles. As mentioned earlier, I'm fascinated by a person in power, a world leader, who, no matter what his religion might be, protects the perpetrator of tremendous crimes against vulnerable individuals and in so doing allows them to wreak even more havoc throughout their lives without censure.

I'm sure all of us ask, What would I have done in his place? And, we might also ask, if we think of it, What would Jesus have done?

Jesus, a personal friend of mine, was a no-nonsense fellow, a real idol-smasher, whose radical anti-authoritarian acts across the small towns of Judah, brought him to the attention of the authorities. Although there is no parable for the evil pedophile, we can easily imagine one. I'll leave it to your imagination how Jesus casts out the pedophile. And, of course, we must remember that pedophiles are people too.

Look at this. Was just reading the Times and found this article about a Dr. Lothstein who treats Catholic priests for various things including sexual relations outside their vows. Lothstein says he was surprised how many psychopaths are priests. Ah, the lovable psychopath who tricks us all.

When I worked as a therapist I believed the head of our crisis center was mistreating crisis patients, one woman in particular, a manic woman who they tied up (four-point restraints) and put in a room by herself. This is technically called Seclusion and Restraint. I myself was treated thus during my first manic-psychotic episode.

All I could do was be a witness until one day an outside agency came in to check up on our agency. I took the man aside and told him of my concerns about our crisis center.

Thank you, said TS, I appreciate your concerns. Talk to me anytime you wish.

And did nothing to change things.

But who was I? A peon. With a sense of justice and compassion. The crisis center was later cited for various violations. My own psychiatrist had told me to mind my own business and not get involved. I was shocked. Dyou see the parallel between the Pope and his cardinals?

Don't get involved. Don't make trouble. Don't rock the boat.

There's two kinds of people in the world, said my former boyfriend Charlie Flaherty. Those that wear down vests and those who don't.

Speaking of great photographs, I commend you to Bill Hess's blog for his masterful shots of Central Park and other NYC sights.


  1. Oh, you have said some incredible things (of which I approve about the Pope and Jesus and protecting the perpetrators of crimes instead of the victims. I thikn it should have been/should be, the focus of a post or article all on its own.

  2. iris, there's a great article in today's times by ross douthat about pope benedict. apparently he has taken action in certain abuse cases. it's well worth reading. i'll send you the link privately.

  3. Thank you, Ruth. I came back so exhausted that I am still catching up. Well, no I'm not. I'm falling further behind - but, still, yes, catching up even as I fall behind.