SOME ART HISTORY Martha and Thom Henrickson….Our Art History…

I am posting some ‘historic’ articles of our beginnings in Canada…. We arrived in Montral Canada in April 1968 by train via B.C. from San Francisco where we lived from 1965-68.  I will post information as I find it.

1st. June 1977 from Canadian Forum, by Scott Lauder

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Grandma Dora

aunt dora +Copy

My grandparents…a year before my mother was born and 6 years before they were divorced.. Sometime around 1900.  This is the grandpa who took me to the circus, the one with the long earlobes.  Grandma Dora lived with us when I was born, when my sister was 10.   The three of us shared a bedroom with two windows facing the court yard from the third floor.  I never knew her with dark hair, her hair was very white short and curly.  What I remember is standing between her knees in the living room while she brushed my hair and pulled me as she braided it.  She wore stockings that were rolled just below her knees and kept a pack of tobacco for rolling her own cigarettes.  She was warmand I imagined she read to me but was told later that she could not have as she never learned to read English. Originally from a place called Bialistoc, which I was told was in Russia at the time and maybe later became part of Poland.  Grandma Dora came to the United States with many other immigrants sometime in the late 1800’s.  I found her name on the ships manifest once, Brody there was her mother who’s name I can’t remember right now, her sister Mary brother Ben and another brother that must have died young because I never heard of him.  The stories I heard about her were that she loved to dance and danced with scarves, she had lovers one who is in the box with old photo’s, my mom said they used to call him uncle somebody.  Dora and Louie divorced in an age when it was not an everyday occurrence.  They lived in Brooklyn, but before that they lived on farm land in Connecticut, my mom remembered it being too cold in the winter.  My mom was an avid reader and spend much time in the library as a girl..  When they moved to Brooklyn and the divorce happened Grandma Dora eventually re-married and had two more children.  My uncle Jesse and aunt Roz who was ten years younger than my mother , just like me and my sister who is ten years older than me.  I don’t know how long they were married, but my mom told stories about growing up with a stepfather who would not even allow her to take an apple from the fruit bowl. She also tole me about having to take streetcars in bad weather to get to her fathers house so she could get some money to buy a pair of stockings.  I guess that is why she never finished school but went out into the business world.  My mom loved shoes and hats and gloves and all things that she worked for.  Wait I am writing about the grandparents..I loved grandma Dora as if she was my mother.  She took care of me while my mom went to work from the time she moved in with us..maybe when I was 6 months oldand we moved to a two bedroom apartment on Kingston Avenue.  When she died I was about 5and they didn’t tell me.  They sent me off to the Steeplechase with  our neighbour Molly and her son the day of the funeral.  I think I was home when she had a heart attack and was taken away in the ambulance, where she died.   I have a memory of someone on the floor in the back foyer..either my mom or grandma and Lily sending me into the kitchen. 
My favourite story was always The Little Match Girl, and for years I thought my grandmother read it to me..but when my mom was dyingand we ha time to talk without her running off to do something else, she said  ‘no!’ your grandmother could not read English, I read it to you every night, it was the only story you wanted for a long time.
That was the first time I understood why I liked that story so much, it was the scene with the last match and the glow of it and the wish to be with her dear dead grandmother. That was when I saw that grandma Dora ‘s death was as if my mother died.   As I was growing up I was always afraid my mother would dye, when her hair started to turn grey I asked her if it meant she would die soon, that was when she first dyed her hair..

A woman who would quietly cut his hair in the afternoon. II

The flag was still hanging limp with rain,, while the trees surrounding and beyond had the freedom of swaying with each passing breeze, swaying with droplets falling from each pine alive.  Clair watched from inside, her chilled hands caressing each other for warmth.  It wasn’t really cold, not winter cold, not icy blue cold, but one of those damp mornings when putting a few logs onto the fire would crackle everything back to life.  This was their home before the desert winds blew the life out of everything green.  When there were still a few elecric cars.  Before the bay became a body of water not full of life but full of the silence of a dead lake.  That this rich land could become a desert was not predictable.  There was much change and it was constant, no time to become accustomed to something as it may not be there tomorrow.  Sometimes the only constant were memories, and those moments of quiet, when she would but Elton’s hair in the afternoon.  Not when the seasons changed as was the impulse in their history, but after sundown or before sunrise outdoors when the cowl was withdrawn so they could see the sky as the night crept over them.  Things had changed so in this world, putting a log onto the fire was an extravagance, something for a special occasion or a deep freeze.  This was an ordinary day, a once a week Tuesday morning.

One of their neighbours just left perhaps heading south before winter, but no this is a spring rain.  It had become more and more difficult to distinguish one season from another.  Weather patterns shifting so swiftly all over the globe.  You may find yourself out in shirt sleeves during mid February or shovelling snow in June.  Going out on a warm summer morning meant taking along a small shrink pack, consisting of gloves, folding boots, a scarf, took and a jacket, all designed from a special material that compresses into the shrink pack, no larger than an old-fashioned cell phone  Sort of like those sea mermaids in old comic books that kids would send away for ..just add water and they expand.

She remembered there was a calendar on the wall, held up by a red push-pin. It was such an ordinary thing, the calendar with pen marks for appointments, birthdays, holidays, things crossed out and changed.  Folding over each month and seeing a new picture, maybe a bear or a photo of the grand canyon. We don’t have calendars anymore.  They eventually vanished as it was too much waste, who needs that when you can have all your stuff neatly tucked into your device.  The one that you insert into the clip on your wrist.

The children were grown now, Sam living out in the desert where they had grown up. He was committed to continuing their work with the cactus transformations.  So many people had left once it had become so intolerable to live under these conditions of extreme dry winds and sand storms.  They were still discovering  new ways to transform energy by multiplying.

Kal their daughter was off in a more remote part of the planet working with children left behind during the mass exodus of the early part of the century.  These children were learning how to bring natural agriculture into a form that could also generate physical endurance for humanity.



A woman who would quietly cut his hair in the afternoon. III

Part II is missing at the moment somewhere in a pile of papers or lost in a computer.

Years have moved ahead and the struggle for survival has become the norm. Perhaps is has always been this way, each generation believes that it’s time is the most challenging…she wondered if there was ever, since the beginning of time ,an era that was not challenging or interesting.

Clair watched as she lived her life, she watched the star patterns begin to change. the slow creeping of sand farther into the towns, the fewer familiar birds and insects.

The crops that were being grown in the farmed grow areas were all sheltered from the elements, the cowl covering were now part of everyday life…and many underground passages were dug deep into the earth.  They had air channels that allowed air to be filtered in without the use of any energy other than the force of the air itself shifting through the many thin tubes made of a fibre from another type of cactus.  The lighting was also channelled in through openings above that were made of the cowl material allowing in light in a soft pattern along the tunnelled walls.  These underground channels were connections to many communities.  Each community was started by a  group of friends or family that had contained their creative and learned knowledge of a particular form.  The food growers had each developed ony one or two specialties, this allowed for many people to access their needs by trading.

The re-training of many young people took many years, as most of the skills that had been taken for granted a generation before were lost during the surge of artificial intelligence and technology.  This was the reason for it’s being here in the first place.  Humanity being so absorbed in its own belief that humans were really capable of developing this mass technology on our own, really not ever questioning the validity of human accomplishment, never thinking once that it was from somewhere else that this sudden impact so quickly taken on as if it were always here.  Taking to it all too easily like breathing, and that too, breathing, we took credit for as our own.

As technology for communication became more and more available for everyone, and other means of communication became  tiresom, too complicated, too exhausting, the abbreviated forms of texting became the mode for each new generation.  Speech became lessened, writing slowly vanished along with the ability to actually read full ideas.  If it was sung into the ears through little inserts with musical vibrations tat was all the was going on.

When it all stopped, when the plug was pulled the planet was at the mercy of our captors…

Martha Klein Henrickson  sometime between 1999 and 2012


cactus and glacier…

A woman who would quietly cut his hair in the afternoon.

I found this in a notebook, written at a small writing group I was part of in 1999.  I hope to do some editing, but for now this is it…and there are more pages that came later but need to be found..  Martha

Her feet moved quickly over the terra-cotta tiles still cool from the night’s breezes.  Stepping over the shadow of the house into the morning sun was like walking through a doorway.  The temperature changes here were so extreme from night to day.  It was a constant reminder of where she was.  How different her life was now, how strange to watch as her children grew up in this world of sand and sun, how their familiarity with spiders and snakes were usual to them as they were unusual to her.  Clair stopped for a moment.  The sun was already warming the clay tiles beneath her bare feet.  Her we hair was already drying. This had become the only time of day it was possible to enjoy the freedom of movement through the courtyard, before the sun cam fully pushing every crack of shadow away like a huge broom sweeping yesterday off into the dustpan.  Clair was distracted today, her mind was wandering far off.  She stretched as she reached out for the cord, dared to look into the sky for a moment, then returned to hr morning task of unwinding the cord from the first post, still holding it taught in her hand as she let it slide into place then walked to the next post until she finished at the other side and stepped into the kitchen. The courtyard now shaded by the cowl.  It was like an awning and made of fibre from the prickly pear cactus.  A discovery come upon by accident. They were looking for something else, trying to find a way to use the abundance of cactus that had been proliferating like made.  One of the few plant forms that started appearing in places where they had not been before. Paper was what they wanted, something like paper, something to use like paper and in the process it became softer like a membrane and pieces easily linked together with the incredible property of not allowing the UV rays in.  A group of students had discovered it, this made it possible to again to be outdoors during the day.  It was slow that they became nocturnal creatures. Clair longed for glowing sun she had known, this cowl was an experiment, and it was working.  The difficulty was how to let it be known and not have such an influx of people  returning that the quiet they knew now would be gone forever.  It would take time for that to happen.  Travel was difficult as it could only be done during the night on foot or self-propelled vehicles.  Lots of new ideas and designs but the amount of labor involved made it impossible to get anywhere without leaving everything behind.

This was all a very sudden shift, drastic, sometime in the early 21st century following a few years of weather pattern changes and shifts in the tectonic plates.  They had no idea what was really going on.   Many blaming things making up false reasons, convinced the world and themselves that it was the thinning of the ozone layer, caused by all this neglect of the planet.  It appeared as if everything shifted, what was once thought fanatic had now become the norm.  That our innocence had led us to not look at what was really happening.  Extra terrestrial had gone from comic books and science fiction stories to reality.  Survival became most important,of course, and the truth was again being hidden by some.  Fear was the key, but we were all so secure in being who we were, at least  generations were trying to convince themselves as to how important we were.  How special this place, how life as we know it, knew it, was why we indeed strived for.

The constant movement across the planet, constant movement of people and their needs, travel for business and pleasure.  Airports overcrowded, everyone going someplace as soon as they had the money to buy a ticket and get off work.  A change of scenery, climate, culture, language. A breakdown of boarders money becoming the common denominator and boredom the disease. The plague of AIDS moving swiftly just as the money. The same breakdown of boarders , flowing freely diminishing mans ability to care, it had become too much.   So much pain and fear pushed people farther into the realm of the unreal, more travel, more escape and more possessions.

Evrything was connected, not one occurence at that time was not connected to another, but they could not see the connections. The ones in power could not see it, not politicians, they were somehow in place as a diversion to confuse the issues.

The people had become obsessed with belonging to something.  Whatever was similar clung together under banners, the more groups with banners clung together the more separate they became. There was no possibility of listening, because the amount being said turned int chaos.  An old television show claiming as its undercurrent ” The Truth is out There”, was somehow a strange hint connecting with old sacred teachings of “The Truth is Within”.  The inner and the outer had to connect but the confusion, the grabbing, the greed of a planet full of people all wanting something, all pointing fingers, and waiving their own banners left no room to see anything.

Bang, almost like that old science fiction move “The Day the Earth Stood Still’ everything stopped.  It became quiet.  Followed by the usual reactions of  panic and looting it all quieted down, and people had to go about their business of survival and it became less violent. They had trouble looking at each other once they found out. It was harder to face, as the fantasy of extra terrestrials became reality it had always been.   The question of God and religion caused many to believe it could not be true.  The possibility of God was stronger, of many Gods of an orchestration of existence, of reason, of caring for without that bugaboo of religion.

“Clair”  Clair her name echoed across the veranda.  Elton her husband was awake and probably reaching for his sun protectors which she had taken with her into the kitchen to look for something to fix the hinge on them. “OK Elle, I’ll be right there” she said grabbing a small screw drier like pick and tightening the hinge.  He climbed out of their hammock stretching in the morning heat.


trying to find a story i wrote….

I am sitting here outside watching the slow moving of many trees.  I was looking for a short story I wrote over fifteen years ago.   It was futuristic about a time that right now feels like it is that time…I will look for it again and try to put it in here..A few years after writing it I had found it and read it again, and started another chapter..I found that but I need/want to find the first one…I think it was written by hand in a notebook?  I remember the taste of writing it, the story just kept unravelling from somthing small to something I could not stop.  I am not a writer, not one for fancy words and my mind was never good at quoting anything or anyone…

When I worked in offices as a young person, answering phones and announcing things on an intercom either at my jobs at printing companies or in the garment center…there was always time to just write my own stuff.  I woud write what I felt about anything that came into my head.  I even wrote a few murder type mysteries being influence by listening to the radio (under my pillow at night)..the reader a Sidney Gross reading Guy de Maupassant or Poe…when I should have been asleep.  Must have been Sunday nights, as I never looked forward to any days in high school…I dreaded each day..but somehow survived it..  So much has changed since then..I am not sure who that person was..but she is sometimes here with me.    I found it today and will put it in when I can…


the wind by Martha Henrickson

Today it is the sun
teasing us with warmth

Northern Cardinal Review

There is a great wind this morning
the trees are rejoicing in it
heavy snows having left their branches
the bay is wild this morning
and only a few moments ago
all was quiet.

Only a few moments ago I was
wondering if I should listen
to the voice inside
this great wind blew life into
even into my questioning.

Martha Hendrickson has always been in the arts, drawing, painting, photography and has written on small pieces of paper since a teen. She lives near Penetanguishene Ontario on the shores of Georgian Bay.  Has been in several writing groups over the last 20 or so years, but mostly writes alone, often before the sun rises.

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what is this thing, this ego, this wanting to be seen, this never-ending hunger to be heard? The moments when I am happiest are when this is
not nagging at me, when it is quiet, when it stops, and the fog clears and all around is pulsing with life. Then I see you and the soft snow falling and breath and life moving.
what is this thing, this ego, this wanting to be seen, this never-ending hunger to be heard? The moments when I am happiest are when this is not nagging at me, when it is quiet, when it stops, and the fog clears and all around is pulsing with life. Then I see you and the soft snow falling and breath and life moving.


Now after two soft boiled eggs and a slice of rye toast with a espresso.  …the snow is still falling, I see it twice, through the glass door at the front of the house and thru the back of the house reflected in a small mirror thru the dreamcatcher..  The concern about the ego has vanished for a while…Does this mean it has taken over or has it been fed and slithered back into it’s cozy cave? I notice that when I try to write in this blog, or anywhere with the idea of writing it down, things get held backand the writing is clumsy.   I think I can only write when I forget that writing is what I am trying to do.  Gotta just do it..let it happen, allow the words to form into the feelings that are within and wanting to be seen.  Sunday morning..

My grandfather, Louie, had long ear lobes
Lohan ears I would see later in my life
not a tall man his oval head shaved
good for circulation he would say
a vest covered with a second vest
his clear face with a deeply creviced chin.
from the Friday evening subway ride
we walk along uneven smooth grey slate sidewalks
to what was Ida and his apartment in Williamsburg
where today an elevated highway goes through
the narrow kitchen window
soft worn fabric pads on wood straight back chairs
the oil clothed kitchen table wedged against one wall
worn cracked pattern uneven linoleum creaking
as aunt Ida, wearing slippers shuffles back and forth.
The smell of chicken soup fills the small apartment
as it simmers uncovered on the old gas stove.
The porcelain sink drain board holding soup bowls
carrots floating along with small circles of fat.
My mother in a stylish grey wool pin-stripe suit
cigarette balanced between her manicured fingers
one leg crossed its grey suede pump pointing
toward the stove and in Aunt Ida’s path.
She is telling some story about something
I am not listening until he stops her mid sentence
asks her to repeat, spell an unknown word
taking a pen from his inside vest pocket
wetting it on his tongue before writing
this magic new word in the corner of the
folded Jewish Daily Forward
his finger running across his lower lip,
chin pointing up eyes closed for a few
quiet seconds all stands still
then he uses his new word in a sentence.

Circus at Madison Square Gardens:

Entering the huge doors,
holding his hand tight in fear of being trampled
smells of sawdust and animals filled my head
plastic cupie dolls covered with glitter
dangling from sticks along with
wooden painted snakes winding around
wild coloured balloons
paper bags with peanuts, cracker jacks and cotton candy.
we walked with crowds of people down a wide staircase
smells getting stronger saw dust thicker under my Mary Janes
we finally stepped into a huge crowded space
thick ropes separating us from elephants
swaying huge trunks up in the air and down again
not able to see what everyone was looking at
he squeezed us to the front
I looked up at a part man part woman,
right down the middle half and half
then a bearded woman
another woman in silky balloon pants and a fancy brassiere
standing near a big opened wooden trunk the mirrored lid
reflecting a big slithering snake
she picked up and draped around her naked waist.

then a man with sticks that he lit with fire
waved around and almost swallowed before
taking up a sword and waving it around
I hid my face in my grandfather’s arm
no, no, look it is good for you to see
looking up at his face, deep lines in his forehead, grey stubble,
I wondered if he really did get such long ear lobes
by lifting weights from them when he was in the circus
the fat lady oozy with red lips
flesh tumbling over the arm of her big chair
midgets wearing hula skirts dancing and playing ukulele
the tallest man in the world a giant
thick black hair and deep-set eyes
spinning a little top onto a long string
standing behind what looked like a cage
leaning on it with his hands to pull himself up
he looked like he hurt I started to cry
I was tired glittering pink woman on swaying trapeze,
hanging by teeth
with arched backs, a foot pointed
meeting a line with sparkling curly hair
all glittery lights flashing over outstretched arms
along the edge of the audience like so many
Christmas decorations
constant movement and noise.
Lions in one ring, jumping through hoops
loud music, and drums
Lights flashing and confetti everywhere
clowns with huge shoes and red noses,
puffy hair and white faces,
one clown alone, sad sweeping the spotlight
until he swept it into a dustpan
then into a bag and it was dark
for a bout a second
Elephants sparkling women riding on them
a little boy dressed like a cartoon stood
playing a piano on turning disc round and round
I didn’t know where the lions went
I didn’t know how the elephants got there
did they walk up the same staircase as we did?
How did they get all this into the middle of the city?
and the show had not yet begun. (more…)

thoughts surfacing

It is just a country?
it is just a chance of birth
somewhere on this planet.
Always been grateful of
the time and place..did not know
any other..
Other times or places felt
full of dangers
We are used to what we live in.
leaving the land of my birth
there is not a connection of place
did my ancestors experience this?
An underlying taste of what is
that place…the red white and blue
the drum beats in assembly
the songs embossed in my mind
the not seeing of other lands
Is it a form of prejudice?
My way or the highway?
Do they really believe they are better?
It is so temporary
so not a part of being here
These differences transparent
the inner light of possibilities
is the only true connection
to all…
thoughts surfacing March 2008