Monday, March 24, 2008

I just want to hold her close.

This is my favorite picture from Paris. I just love sculpture. Give me an ass in marble and I'm in heaven. I love this man and infant. It warms my heart to see masculine affection and care. I was truly moved by this piece.
We have just arrived home from our trip to Pittsburgh. My first reaction is dreary. It was a dreary ride into a dreary looking Pittsburgh. On Thursday Artie flew in and she, Xan, and I drove down to Monessen to see The Douglas School and check out the Tom Savini Special Effects Make Up program there. My word of advice to all my friends with kids younger than mine is "Go see the school that your kid wants to go to"!!! Let me tell you if I was in a situation where I was dropping my dear first born off in this town to go to this school and we had never been there before I would be having nightmares.
We drive into Monessen on Thursday around 11am figuring that it will be fun to have lunch before our 1pm tour. Monessen is an old mill town. A very sad, and sorry ass mill town. We see the school right away it is on the main road and it is about 4 or 5 buildings in a row and is surrounded by vacant buildings and a bunch of nothing. No cafes. No coffee shops. No restaurants. Oh wait there are some pizza places and that's it. As we are driving out of town there is a Subway and a Rite Aid. We must of blinked. We must of been wrong. Where is everything college like? So we turned around and there drove back through the other one way street and found the grocery store. OK that's a good sign.
We decide that we will drive back to the other town that we passed that is across the river. It looks bigger and my wheat allergy makes a pizza place a hard choice. So off we go to the town of Charleroi. Charleroi is bigger but just as sad and sorry. I mean there is no Starbucks. There is no diner. There is a donut shop where we stop and ask if there is a breakfast place that serves eggs. We got the blank stare and the monotone response of, "This is a breakfast place". The blank stare got even blanker when I explained that I can not eat gluten and need some different choices than donuts. We got sent down the road to a place that was so smokey I thought I was going to gag. Get this (and this is true, cross my heart), we get seated in the smallest non-smoking I've ever seen and I head off to the bathroom. The bathroom door is wide open and there is a man washing his hands at the sink and behind him there is a young teenage boy standing at the toilet peeing. I was shocked. I stood there processing all this and then thought it best if I do them the favor of closing the door for them. I did. I waited for my turn and relieved myself of all the pent up pee of picking Artie up at the airport, driving for an hour, looking at the run down downtown of Monessen, standing in a time warp at the donut shop, and walking into a furnace of an eating establishment.
Doesn't this all sound grand? But don't despair. The Douglas School has some fine points and Artie was turned on by what she saw. The school is small, only 300 students and the majority of them are in the special effects make up program. The make up program is doing so well that this year they added The Tom Savini Digital Film Program.
Up the incredibly steep hill is the housing. A developer has bought 7 or 8 houses and they rent them out dormitory style to the kids. We drove up there and looked around.
I brought the camera and took not a single picture. I think that if I had documentation of what I saw I might just wilt away.
Artie says that the town is all the inspiration that any student needs to create fantasy and horror.
On our way out of town we went a different route and found the Starbucks. Thank God.
Artie was turned on. This is the place. This is the primo choice for her to learn the craft that she is into.
I'm sitting here with my head in my hands wondering about it all. I'm thinking of that beautiful sculpture of the man holding the infant. I remember how I used to love watching Michael hold our dear Artie. It seems so long ago at this moment sitting here typing up the hilarity of my experience in Monessen. I want to hold her close. I just want to hold her close.