Monday, July 11, 2011

Second Chances

As I was looking at the show, "Second Chances", a delightful museum show at the San Francisco International Airport featuring work made from recycled materials, it occurred to me that this show capped a week filled with examples of second chances. Dresses made from Mary Jane wrappers, toys made from tin cans, and furniture made from bottle caps resonated with me in several ways.

At the Mingei Museum in San Diego, there was an electrifying show of quilts made by African American makers during the 20th century. These eye-dazzling quilts were all created from cloth which had lived at least one previous life, whether as workers' overalls, as a little girls dress, as an old wool coat, or as a precious satin hair ribbon. The women who created these quilts saw something new, a second chance, another purpose for the fabrics, and in their able hands, created splendors for the eye.

While in San Diego, I met with a few friends of my aunt, including a man who got a new lease on life with his quadruple bypass, a Holocaust survivor, and a 70+ year old woman who was head over heels in love with her new "boyfriend". Talk about second chances.

And then I thought about my own experiences of second chances, and realized that right now I am really living through a second chance, post marriage. I can't undo my past life nor do I want to; there are many good memories along with the lass good. I can't erase parts I regret, and sadly there is no making up for lost time but I am working like crazy to live my life differently, with purpose and responsibility rather than being a victim of circumstance living life as a reaction. Maybe that's why I respond so strongly to artwork created from re-purposed objects, embodiments of another crack at living.

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