Oregon's most popular tv-show host walked onto the set of her daily program.
"Welcome to the Helen Barlowe Rochester show!" she said enthusiastically. "I'm Helen Barlowe Rochester,
and my guest today is the renowned Oregonian sculptor and painter, Ramona Q.,
whose latest exhibit, Childhood Memories, is on display at The Wechsler Gallery."
The audience gave Ramona a standing ovation.
"Ms. Q., I want to thank you for appearing today. I know that you have a very busy schedule," said Helen.
"I'm glad to be here," Ramona said graciously, "but please call me Ramona. Ms. Q. sounds like a mistake."
"Oh! Miscue! Words can be funny sometimes," Helen observed.
"They sure can," agreed Ramona. "On my first day in kindergarten, the teacher showed me to a
desk and said that I should sit there for the present. Well, you can guess how I interpreted that!"
"Of course. I would have thought the same thing. But there doesn't seem to be anything in the
exhibit based on that memory," Helen commented.
Ramona answered, "There isn't. But there is a painting based on an even earlier event in my childhood."
"Which painting?" asked Helen
"The First Bite Tastes Best," said Ramona.
"That's one of my favorites, " Helen said. "And for those of my viewers who haven't been to the exhibit yet,
the painting shows a number of apples on the floor, each with just one bite taken out."
"We had a barrel of apples, and I took one bite out of each one, because, as the title of the painting says,
the first bite tastes best." Ramona laughed. "But my sister, Beatrice, found me before I got through the whole barrel."
"You must have been an interesting kid to have around," Helen remarked
"Well, Beezus," Ramona began
"Beezus?" Helen repeated.
"That was Beatrice's nickname when we were kids. When I was a baby, I couldn't say Beatrice, and the name
Beezus just stuck," Ramona explained. " Anyway, she says that I could be pretty exasperating at times."
"One of your sculptures shows a doll standing with her hand on a car," Helen said
"Chevrolet and Chevrolet? Yes, I had a doll I'd named Chevrolet after my aunt's car," said Ramona.
"Do all of the works in this exhibit come from your own memories?" asked Helen.
"Not all of them," Ramona replied. "For instance, I got the idea for the sculpture called
Bull Costume from an incident in my brother-in-law Otis Spofford's childhood.
He and Beatrice met at a high school football game between Glenwood and Rosemont."
Ramona took a drink of water.
"I'm curious about your sculpture, Two Owls," Helen said.
"You want to know why one of the owls is scrunched, don't you?
Well, it's because I scrunched one of the original, paper-bag owls."
"There must be quite a story behind that."
"Yes," said Ramona, "and I'm sorry I can't share it, but someone else was involved."
"And that person might not want it told?"
"I notice that you did both a painting and a sculpture of Picky-Picky and Ribsy. They must have been very special to
warrant being done in both mediums," Helen commented.
"They were," said Ramona with a nostalgic smile. "Picky-Picky was our cat, and Ribsy was my husband's dog."