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ArtStream Ava Mural Project


Ava Mural Project 2009- "Lessons Learned" Stories

The following stories were recorded by the artists whose name appears next to their artwork.

painting21 Aaron Scislowicz

The story behind my painting. My grandfather moved from Poland to the United States. When he was in Poland he was forced to the concentration camps under Hitler’s rule were he was forced to do several things good or bad. He Moved to Chicago Illinois were he started living his new life until he was offered land in Missouri. He liked the scenery so he bought 37 acres out west 76 to build a house and start a life. So when I was born my family moved down to ava because my father had to come take care of him. The house in my painting belonged to my grandpa I learned a lot from him he was a vary wise man and he taught me so much he helped teach me right from wrong the old style of living. Thanks to my family I am the person I am today.

paintng16Travis mitchell

It was 1985 I was a senior in high school; the football game was letting out. I was going west bound on Y highway and all the traffic from the football game was going east bound. And there was a kid on a bike east bound but he was in my lane and he was by passing all the traffic. And I didn’t see him until it was too late, I hit my brakes, we hit head-on, he went flying over the car. I got out and ran after him and he had to broken legs that you could plainly see and him laying on the ground screaming it was his fault and he was sorry and then to this day as far as I know he’s still in a wheel chair. I guess the life lesson is that you need to pay attention to your surroundings, in a car, on a bike, anything and just be careful.

painting24Matt Bishop

Me and my friend Chance were out to have fun one day and couldn’t find anything to do. So we picked up a few more people and started to get a broad idea of what we might like to go do.

We ended up going out to the local bar and played a few games of pool. After out second game the electric bull was brought out on stage. chance was the first one to get up there. He didn’t even stay on long enough to ever break a sweat. So a few other people got on and did what they could do, the longest anyone stayed on was about a minute and a half.

Chance had got a beer down by now and was ready to hop back on, he did about as good as the first time. When chance got down he puked his innards out. After that he headed strait for me and said

painting3 Carol Williams

”An important lesson that I have learned in my lifetime is that love can be found in unexpected places. When I was around 12 or 13 I went to the movie theater with a few buddies of mine. There was a girl sitting in front of me with her pretty long blonde hair almost touching the floor in front of me, so I decided to be a jerk and put my knees up on the back of her chair. She kept on tugging and tugging and finally said ‘You’re on my hair,’ and I said ‘I know’. Well after the movie I ended up going a few miles out of my way to walk her home and we didn’t see each other again for a long time. Years later we met and after I realized it was that same girl, we fell in love and I married her.” –Grandpa Miller

painting12Henry Weathersbee

            I  lived on what was called Benton Ave. then, they've changed the names of the streets, the street behind the (Ava) Drug Store that goes straight East and goes right up behind Casey's. And almost all the people, when I grew up, lived on the East side of town. In fact, they still do. If you run for election, and you win big on the East side, you've won.
            Anyway, I lived just a couple of blocks past Casey's (Casey's General Store), and I still own the house. It was nothing fancy, a little three bedroom house with a basement and upstairs. We had pretty good size closets for those days although you just had blue jeans and t-shirts, and I had “Sunday clothes.” And not all kids did. But my mother was peculiar like that, and I had a jacket, a shirt, and a tie, which my grandpa – or my dad – couldn't tie. And I couldn't wear the pants without wearing the jacket, 'cause she knew I'd tear a hole in the pants – and I had Sunday shoes. We wore shoes like this to school. They were leather, with leather soles – didn't have tennis shoes. You had tennis shoes, but you wore them only in the gym and not outside.
            Well, that's kind of the way things were in that neighborhood. They were all young families. Second avenue didn't go all the way out there to FF, it dead-ended out there. Probably thirty families with children. And at night, nobody had air conditioning, so at night everybody sat out in their yard and swatted the mosquitoes and everything else. And as the parents set out in the yard, the kids played out in the yard. So we played games every night.
            And looking back, I can see that that experience helped me develop the relationship that I have with people, and how much fun people are. The enjoyment that I get out of the soda fountain – my enjoyment here (at the Drug Store) isn't necessarily filling prescriptions – my enjoyment is being around the soda fountain where I get to visit with everybody.
            But up on top of the hill, there's a water tower. And that hill is called Water Tower Hill. A lot of the kids don't even know where Water Tower Hill is. We had one water tower, that's all we had. And that one water tower had enough pressure that it supplied water to the City of Ava. The city limits out here, you know where Town and Country Supermarket is. The rock house right next to it that says Ozark Appraisal Service, the city limit sign was between those two. The Rawlings building where the Police Department is today was built outside the city limits in 1960. The population was about 1600.
            Of course, I walked to school, just four blocks, when I was in first grade – by myself. I suspect they (parents) were watching me about halfway.
            But the water tower... dominated. Water Tower Hill was a fascinating place. On the back side of it the kids took their girlfriends and they parked on the back side. My side, when it snowed, we'd go all the way to the top of Water Tower Hill, have somebody at Highway 14, have somebody at 2nd Street and have somebody at 3rd Street. And you could go all the way down that sucker on a sled. And I mean you flew. And there's a little creek, it's called Prairie Creek, or Shit Creek, whatever you want to call it, and you could slide almost all the way to the creek by Clinkinbeard Funeral Home.
            So the water tower – everything centered around the water tower. I even had a girlfriend that lived up on top of the hill when I was in high school. But when I got big enough my folks, my mother, would let me go up there, there were about fifteen of us, and we'd go up there and stay all night at the water tower. Just camp out. We didn't have sleeping bags, we just had a blanket and a pillow. About eleven o clock at night my mother would show up. Just to kinda see if I was really there. But some of the boys were older, some of them smoking, maybe all of us smoked, I don't remember. Whatever the older ones did, we did. And some climbed the water tower – not me, but some climbed it. But we slept out there under the water tower on a clear night under the stars. I mean it was really quite a deal.
            So after eleven o clock or so after my mother had checked on me, we'd all go down to the highway and we'd all walk to town. So there's nothing going on down here at eleven o clock at night. Most of the businesses stayed open till ten thirty during the week, but it was after everything was closed. It was really neat. I never got to come to town and just loaf. I wasn't allowed to do that. We'd come down and walk around – we didn't do anything bad. It's just that I knew I wasn't where my mother expected me to be.
            There's a little cemetery up there on that Water Tower Hill where the first Sheriff of Douglas County is supposed to be buried, and a couple of others, which made it a little bit more exciting to sleep out under there. One of the boys I graduated from high school with lived there, and he camped out there with us, and it was his sister I dated later. We used to have kids over from all over the place.
            Now that hill, with the water tower on it – I get choked up. Lots of the things we did centered on that silly Water Tower. We climbed it, we looked at it, we painted it, we camped under it. And where I lived down below it in the summer time, when it would overflow, I could stand out in the backyard and feel the water, the mist, coming from that water tower. Now if you had a really good BB gun, and usually it had to be a pump pellet gun – and I never had one – but the kid next door to me did and he could stand in his back yard and you could hear it ping off the Water Tower. Now that was a big, big deal.
            At my house, we lived behind Cooper (Lumber), we could stand in the street, and guess what I can see. The water tower. I've had lots of experiences like that. But the water tower...was always there. And it's not that I'm worse about this as I've gotten older, but.. paint the water tower.
            Also, when I'd come home from school, I'd walk down the hill and I crossed what was called the Pump Lot.  It was called the Pump Lot because there was a city pump there, a well. I didn't know it was a well. But there was a concrete structure that was round. And it had a little window – it was a mysterious thing. I'd look and it'd have water in there. The water was coming out of the well and being pumped up into the water tower.
            When you come into town from the south, it's (the water tower) one of the first things I see. And there's a straight stretch when you're coming from Gainesville, and as you're coming around the corner looking straight ahead there's that silly water tower.

painting 23Kelsea Pettit

My mural was based off of the story of how my grandparents met.  My grandmother used to go to the to the county fair with my great grandmother.  It used to be one of her favorite places to go.  This particular year it had been extremely dry.  The fairgrounds were covered in dust and dirt, so when everyone rode in on their horses and whatnot the dust would get stirred up.  They decided to wet the dirt down to create mud.  Well, my grandpa decided to go running through the mud and ended up getting some people dirty.  When my grandmother saw this she thought that he was the meanest boy she had ever seen, but little did she know she would end up marrying him later on.

painting18Kristen Cathcart

My name is Tim Young and I served in the Marine Core back in 1980-84 and…my story, my life lesson story is don’t hit your sergeant with a lollipop.

When I was in the military…we…was pulling the butts and you have a big stick called a lollipop with a round disk on it, and you would signal if the person miss or hit a bulls eye or whatever. Well the person shot and they missed, so you take the stick across, swing across the bulls eye, it shows that they missed, well when I went across it hit the sergeant and knocked him out.

By the way, the butts is the, behind the targets where ever you shoot at the rifle range and a lollipop, like I said, is a big stick with a disc on it that you signal with.

painting26 Julie Taylor

“One of the things I’ve learned by living in the Ozarks is that family is one of the most important things; and, that coming home – there’s nothing like it.” by Jennifer Melton

painting 14Eric Jackson

It was 2008 and I thought it would be good for my life to get baptize at the church I was going to.  I talked to the pastor about setting the date for which I could have this done.  He said that would be great for you.  He tried to get my son to do it but he was not with me at the time I had this done.  I went to bed the night before I would have this done and I just laid in bed thinking about what was going to happen after I have this done.  I had a dream that night about my life was going to be the greatest and no one could hurt my family.  Therefore, I woke up that morning got dressed and had my 3 cups of coffee.  I kissed my daughter goodbye and told her that I would be home in a few hours.  I got out the church near Thornsfield.  I went in to talk to the pastor to find out where the location of the baptizing and he told me that there was a creek just down the road from the church.  Therefore, we packed up in a few trucks and headed down the road.  When we got there, they told me that the water was going to be cold and I said oh well Ill warm up on the way home.  After the baptizing, I knew that all my sins had been washed away and someone was looking over me.  We all chit chatted for a little bit then I told everyone that I had to leave and go take care of my kids.

painting 11Rachel Urbanowitz

The person that I interviewed was Mrs. Carl, one of our science teachers. The reason I chose her was because she is a respectable person who is rather intelligent. Her reason for loving the Ozarks was because of the peace that it brings her. She says it’s a great place to raise a family which she as chosen to do. Compared to the busyness of California where she use to live. So the image I get in my head is someone relaxing by a tree reading a book. I forgot to mention  she loves the trees and her surroundings. So she has learned that some peace and quite can do the soul a world of good.

painting1Rachel Brown

So when grandma was little her dad collected pennies through the year. So every year at Christmas all the kids would gather around the tree and dad would throw all of the pennies he had collected over the year in the air. So all of the kids would run and collect as many pennies as possible. All the pennies they collected would be their spending money for the year.

painting9Zach Nash

I chose to ask Jerrie Brooks (my mom) about a story of the Ozarks. This is what she said, “When I was nineteen, I went to a church camp, along the way there was a dairy farm. We drove past it and cows were along the fence, and remember that I’m on a bus filled with about thirty-to-forty other teens. When we drove past I yelled, “ I didn’t know that cows had fur!” Everyone laughed, then I realized how dumb I sounded, I didn’t live that down for about a mouth. So Zach that’s when I learned if you just realized something that’s really dumb, don’t say it out loud.

painting2 Kaylynn Miller

On a hot summer day, my dad’s cousin, Jerry Hartley, came down to visit. It was extremely hot outside so they wanted to go to the creek that was just a little ways down the road. They went and asked my grandmother,
Elsie, if it was okay if they went swimming at the creek. She told them that they couldn’t because she seen wild hogs down there the other day and she didn’t feel that it was safe. The two little boys complained and
begged, but she still said no. They decided to just go on a walk. As they were nearing the creek, Jerry piped up and said, “I am so hot. I think it would be okay if we went to the creek. I mean, c’mon, it’s like a million degrees outside and I’m sure that the pigs are long gone by now.” Finally, dad gave in and they ran to the creek, took their shoes and shirts off, and jumped in. As they were playing and having themselves a good ol’ time, Jerry froze in his tracks. “Larry Joe, did you hear that?” “Hear what?” “That squeal”, he whispered. They heard it again. It was coming closer. They wasted no time. They ran out of the creek and down the bank back to the house. They forgot their shoes and shirts. The lesson learned was that Mom knows best!