I remember searching through the clover early in summer. I had this idea that if I looked hard enough I could find a four-leaf clover. I must have spent hours sifting through the small patch outside the side gate to our backyard. Pill bugs and spiders ran for cover, but I wasn’t looking for them. I was on a campaign to find a tiny relic to bring me luck. Did I need luck when I was six years old? My dad was probably mowing the front lawn and my mom spent most of her time indoors. Sometimes she sat at our modest dining table sketching her favorite characters that she’d been perfecting over the years. I watched intently while she drew clowns and princesses. I asked her about the little girl holding matchsticks and she described the character from a Hans Christian Anderson story who sold matchsticks as a way to survive cold winters. I couldn’t figure out how she learned to draw so well. I watched her, amazed, and tried to emulate her natural talent. Sometimes my younger sister Claire sat at the table too. She ogled the princess and then went back to scribbling in her four-year-old way.
My mom had bought me a drawing book demonstrating how to create pictures by utilizing a series of simple shapes. She pulled the slim book from the shelf in the living room and showed me the step-by-step process that could help me learn how to draw an elephant for example. I practiced drawing circles. A circle could be transformed into a frog, or the head of a cat if I drew in a triangle for the nose. Two triangles made ears. I was getting proficient with my pencil as long as I had a good eraser to correct my mistakes. But usually my mom had a lot to do, and quickly got up from the table to start preparing dinner. She hated cooking and complained as she went into the kitchen. I pleaded for her to stay and continue drawing with me.