I was going through my art cabinet, purging and sorting when I happened on this old colored pencil drawing I did a few years ago (prob. 2009). John Denver was a favorite singer of mine (yes, I know, I’m telling my age) and one of my favorite songs he did was “Grandma’s Feather Bed.”
The song makes me smile every time. I think because it reminds me of when family would get together at my maternal grandmother’s farm in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. They had mostly cows, pigs, chickens, and once in a while a horse, a couple of farm dogs and lots of cats. (We never “stole a piggy from the shed” tho’….ewww)
There were my three girl cousins up from Chicago, some of my other ‘local cousins’ and some younger cousins I don’t even remember their names. At night all of us kids would pile into a huge bed with a high head board. The little ones had to be boosted into it. It had the creaky kind of bed springs (really fun to jump on). We would giggle and squeal, argue about blankets, have pillow fights and tell ghost stories.
Sometimes the neighbors would come over for singing. Grandpa got out his harmonica and spoons. The neighbor lady had an accordion. My dad had a guitar. We kids got to sing and learn a little square dancing. Once my grandma even grabbed an empty pop bottle and started blowing into it. The treat was when my grandpa started doing a little Irish jig. Usually we were sent to bed before the party was over. HOWEVER, that didn’t stop us from watching.
Grandma’s house didn’t have a forced air furnace. It was heated by an old coal furnace. There were huge grates in the upstairs floor to let the warm air rise. We would crowd around the grates, laying (lying?) on our stomachs and peering through to the going on’s below. We’d start arguing about who was hogging the space and yelling ‘move over’ when one of our parents would yell, “Are you kids out of bed?” Of course we’d all scramble back in bed (creak-creak-creak) and yell “Noooo!”
“It’d hold 8 kids, and 4 hound dogs, and a piggy we stole from the shed…
We didn’t get a lot of sleep, but we had a lot of fun in Grandma’s feather bed.”
It’s been several years since I did the picture and I’ve taken several art courses since, I think I may try reworking this in both watercolor and digital.
And by the way I HIGHLY recommend these courses: Mark Mitchel’s “How To Be a Children’s Book Illustrator” and Will Terry’s online Folio Academy courses on “Digital Painting.” Folio Academy has many more courses available – I’ve just taken the digital.
Thanks for sharing some memories with me today. (oh-by the way, make sure you find all 4 hound dogs, the piggy and 8 kids [see if you recognize me])
Blessings on your creativity!