My mother, cartoonist, artist and visionary Barbara Hall Fiske Calhoun, was born 98 years ago today, on September 9, 1919, in Tucson, AZ.
She was born Isabelle Daniel Hall, and called Babs, which became Barbara on the suggestion of my father, Irving Fiske, WPA writer, playwright, and philosopher-speaker,
She was a cartoonist during WWII, a painter in tempera and pastel of lovely landscapes, portraits that made the subject see for the first time their own true beauty, and of figure drawings that rivaled any Renaissance painter. She taught art all her life.
In 1946, she and my father and some others, including my uncle Milton, a classical composer, bought the old mountain farm that became Quarry Hill in Rochester, VT.
More of Barbara's story can be read in her Wikipedia entry, and more has yet to be told. Tonight, I just want to remember her amazing ability to know when people needed her and to call them, and to raise all things up in immense beauty in her art. She died on April 28, 2014, in peaceful slumber, in White River Junction, VT.
I know she would be glad that her grandson, my son Andrew Daniel Fiske McFarlin, is to marry his fiancee, Alice Lin, a remarkable, beautiful young woman, Middlebury College graduate, a scholar of languages and the classics, on September 9, 2018-- Barbara's 99th birthday.