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Top One Life
GROWING UP 1952-1972
FAMILY - POUSETTE-DART
This is the only film with my family together in one room! (1960)
Pousette-Dart Family Thanksgiving Dinner 1960 - Nathanial, Flora, Richard, Evelyn, Joanna, Greg, Chris, Jon, Dovey, Bill, Maggie, and Stan (Making the Movie as usual) Gay & Gary we're away.
Painted by my Great Great Grandfather 1795
Tony & Flora
GRANDFATHER & GRANDMOTHER - NATHANIAL & FLORA POUSETTE-DART
Nathaniel Pousette was a painter and an art writer from St. Paul, Minnesota. The son of Swedish immigrants, he studied painting at the Art Students League in New York City under the painter Robert Henri and at the Academy of Fine Arts. My Grandfather was a loving giving man and probably the thing I'll remember most, besides his amazing paintings, is the morning he came down stairs dressed as Santa Claus on Christmas Day and he had forgotten to put on his Santa Boots and had left his old black sneakers on which killed my belief in Santa Claus forever!
Nathanial married Flora Dart, of French dissent, she was a gifted pianist/musician and poet who wrote several books during her lifetime and wrote and played chamber music with other classically trained musicians in their home in Valhalla New York. After their marriage they combined their last names to form Pousette-Dart.
My mother told me that Flora never really showed very much physical affections for her as she grew up. Flora was an intellectual and as such came off a bit cold to her children. However, she told me this wonderful story about the day I was born. When she brought me home to the house in Valhalla NY she gave me to her to hold for the first and only time. Flora had the most beautiful Steinway Grand Piano in her living room and she took me and sat down at her piano and took one of my tiny little fingers and she placed it on one key, and pushed it down on that note and let it ring completely out, and then she gave me back to my mother. No wonder I became a piano player!
Together they had three children. Richard, Dovey and Elizabeth (Maggie).
Richard & Eveylyn
UNCLE - RICHARD POUSETTE-DART & AUNT - EVELYN GRACEY
Richard, the first and only son of the Pousette-Darts was the youngest member of the first generation of Abstract Expressionists. Founder of the New York School of painting, Richard attended the same school as Jackson Pollock in the 40's. He became one of Americas great abstract artists whose work is not only shown in The Modern Museum of Art in NYC and the Guggenheim but in galleries and museums around the world.
I have many recollections of Richard & Evelyn as we spent a lot of time at their house in Suffern NY. I remember vividly walking through a small door in the living room down a narrow stairway and through a winding column of electronics stacked to the ceiling and at the end was this classic Ham Radio with the old school RCA Microphone in front. Richard was an avid Ham Radio Operator and talked to people all over the world. Another memory was the studio above a six car garage that Jon and I played in for hours at a time. But one story that comes to mind was from my mothers memory of Richard. Every night when they were kids, Dovey, Maggie and Richard would get a piece of fruit after dinner. One night they all got bananas. Maggie and Dovey ate theirs right away but Richard saved his. He came into their room later that night and asked them if they wanted a bite of his banana and when they both said yes he would unpeel it and lick the entire thing! hahah
Richard married the Poet Evelyn Gracey and they had two children Joanna and Jon.
Jon & Joanna
COUSINS - JON & JOANNA POUSETTE-DART
Jon is an incredible musician/songwriter who formed the Pousette-Dart Band and Joanna his sister is an accomplished abstract artist in NYC. There's way too much to tell here about their lives so I've included their personal websites below.
Our family is so weird as all families are. Maybe it all came from Flora my grandmother who was always cold and aloof. 65 years later I still have never met or seen Joanna's son! And Gary my other cousin couldn't wait to get as far away as he could from our family as soon as he was able! We never see each other and vary rarely talk to each other. The fact that were actually all perfectly fine with that is really strange but in reality once one chooses to be true to ones artistic expression we tend to embrace the idea of living a life alone.
A long time ago when we were much younger Jon, my brother and I all wanted to go skiing together instead of staying at home to celebrate Christmas one year as a family. My mom who was always very loose about these things said "absolutely yes! if that's what they really want to do than let them!". Evelyn, Jon's mom was adamant about everyone being together and my mom and her butted heads about this for the rest of our lives. After that year we never had Christmas as a family again. The rift between the two was like the Israelis and the Palestinians, they would never make peace!
Dovey & Bill
AUNT - DOVEY & UNCLE - BILL SHELDON
Dovey the First daughter of the Pousette-Darts was a painter. And Bill Sheldon, her husband, was an Advertising Executive. We spent time with this part of my family during my early years at their home in Scarsdale NY, but as time passed everyone grew more distant! Dovey was always a love and I always looked forward to seeing her but Bill was tough. I think that's why his son Gary moved away as soon as he had a chance. They definitely had issues you know the father son thing. Also, One thing that I never forgot about BIll …
One day when I had first started playing music , Bill came into my room, they were visiting us, and he said to me, " What a waste of time playing music , you'll never do anything with that!" and he walked out. I think I hated and distrusted him my whole life for that. But years later after I had grown up we would visit them when they came to the island and he really wasn't a bad person , like my father he was just tough with his boy.
Gary & Gay
Dovey married the ad executive Bill Sheldon and they had two children Gaylord and Garret
COUSINS - GAYLORD & GARRET SHELDON
Gary, who couldn't wait to get away from the family, moved to Colorado Springs and married a wonderful woman named Nina. Gary studied law and became the DA there for a while but then started acting and now he is painting...go figure!
Gay married an ad exec named Denny. Gay is a wonderful woman and I really wish we had made more time to spend together. I very rarely see her but when I do it's always a pleasure. They had two great children named Randy & Laura who we have only been able to spend a very little time with.
MOTHER - ELIZABETH POUSETTE-DART - MAGGIE MEREDITH
Maggie was the third and last child of the Pousette-Dart Family. She was a singer, dancer, photographer and painter. She grew up in upstate New York and married my father Stanley Rabczak. They picked a new last name out of phonebook, I suppose my mom was not wild about my dad's last name! They spent much of their life moving from home to home as Maggie loved to move furniture around! I think she was the first one to have ADD. She produced so much work in her lifetime it's daunting. To this day I'm still moving massive amounts of things she created through the years, her poetry books, her paintings, her rugs she hooked and her prints from room to room. She also produced two children, Greg, and me Chris. She was a great mom, and a very talented artist. Her work was filled with love and humor and always brought a smile to the thousands of people who saw and bought her paintings and prints.