Monday, October 17, 2011

Memories of Andrew

My uncle Andrew died this past Spring and the news brought back a flood of memories.

Wes gets a B – I only took one class with Andrew while at the University of Miami. It was a painting class. He was very encouraging and a little bit inspirational. He gave me a B. I never questioned it. I thought it fair enough. But my Mom wanted to know why Andrew gave her son a B in painting. Andrew explained that I was unable to recognize a painting by Raoul Dufy. Andrew did suggest that the students in his class should be familiar with a short list of important artists. To this day, when I see a Dufy on a visit to an art museum I smile and think of Andrew. (Usually I’m not sure it is a Dufy, until I read the museum placard.)

Laundry Monster – When Vince and Nick were in town and Andrew and Dahlia were traveling, their home near South Miami was a favorite place to do a load of laundry for hungry college students. Those attacks on the laundry monster were so much fun because it was like doing a tedious chore with good friends in a showplace (a beautiful home filled with artifacts and art).

The purple rage – Vince and Nick loved and admired Andrew too. Like all kids they pick up on things their parents do. The twins used to reflect on Andrews parental way of trying to coach them. When he sensed he was not getting his message across he might exhibit a bit of emotion the boys affectionately called the “purple rage.” Alex was familiar with this level of emotion in his father too. When it comes to kids – we all can show some of that purple rage.

South Truro and Two Fine Horses – Two pieces of Andrew’s art hang proudly in my home. SouthTruro is a sort of abstract/expressionist painting, a landscape from his time in the New England area (Cape Cod). Two Fine Horses is black India ink drawing on paper of two horses in a horse-trailer. (That picture hung in the Andrew Morgan kitchen in Miami.When I told Andrew how I admired the simple lines of that composition – he gave it to me.) Both works feature a vintage Andrew signature from 1955 (The year I was born).

Go Hurricanes – I became the beneficiary of that extra ticket when Dahlia decided to give her’s up. Andrew loved the Canes and I loved driving to the Orange Bowl with him. Andrew loved sharing the games with my parents too. Doing the Macarena in the warm sun and watching Ray Lewis reek havock on the offense. It doesn’t get much better than that. I was with Andrew the day the Orange Bowl home winning streak ended against Washington. I am so glad I got that additional time with Andrew and my parents in 1994-95. It was before Miami joined the ACC and before the demolition of the Orange Bowl.

Mowing the Lawn – I had the pleasure of mowing the lawn from time to time for Andrew and Dahlia. Florida landscaping is never easy. Mangoes, Oranges, palm fronds and more. I loved every second of it though.

Yearbook – I was associate editor of the Ibis Yearbook my senior year. One of my favorite pages in that 1977-78 edition features a three of dynamic shots of Andrew in action. The student photographer was able to capture the essence of Andrew’s dramatic gestures. On film it is almost as if he could vanish with a wave of his hand. And so he has. (page 116 University of Miami Ibis yearbook)

Bragging about my uncle – “You know my uncle was President of the Kansas City Art Institute for ten years before the University of Miami offered him an opportunity to head the art department in beautiful Coral Gables, Florida in the early 1970’s.” I’m glad he accepted that opportunity, because by the time Richard Nixon resigned from office over the Watergate cover up, I was checking into Mahoney Hall with my brother Greg at the University of Miami. (I can almost hear Joe Cocker blasting out of our 8-track player now, “She came in through the bathroom window, protected by a silver spoon….”) I ended up at the “U” because of Andrew as much as any other reason. That is a decision I will never regret! (It’s very cold in Syracuse, you know.)

Groovy - I grew up in a West Side suburb of Cleveland (Lakewood), which was home to Andrew and his brothers, one of whom is my father (James O’Connell Morgan). Growing up, I only saw Andrew periodically when he’d come to visit. I remember when I was maybe 10 or 11, Andrew and Peg came and they had Alex with them. I remember Alex touching a nerve in a common generational gap issue about attitudes about drugs like LSD. Think about it – that was the 1960’s. Alex turned out just fine. (A true academic, falling just short of a Ph.D in literature, but as a teenager he knew how to call up the purple rage from his Dad.)

The Chart House – Years later, Andrew and Dahlia joined us for a meal on the bay in Coconut Grove. It was a chilly night but we sat outside anyway. My boy Ben was a Freshman at the University of Miami. Andrew, Dahlia, Ben, a girlfriend, my wife Lynn and our good pal Skye enjoyed a meal together that night. Dahlia was so attentive and kind to Andrew. She seemed honored to be a part of his life. (To tell the truth, he was so lucky to have her in his life too).That was around 2005.

I loved Andrew. I will miss him. He will be missed. He will not be forgotten!

Raoul Dufy (3 June 1877 – 23 March 1953) was a French Fauvist painter. He developed a colorful, decorative style that became fashionable for designs of ceramics and textiles, as well as decorative schemes for public buildings. He is noted for scenes of open-air social events. He was also a draftsman, printmaker, book illustrator, a theatrical set-dresser, a designer of furniture, and a planner of public spaces.

Miami Hurricanes 1985-1994 broke the record for longest home winning streak. They were defeated by Washington. The previous record was by Alabama.

Published in The Miami Herald on March 19, 2011
MORGAN, ANDREW W., born on July 29, 1922, passed away peacefully on March 18, 2011. The family will be home following a private service at Riverside Gordon Memorial Chapel. In lieu of flowers the family suggest donations to L'Chaim Jewish Hospice Program, 14875 NW 77 Ave, Suite 100, Miami Lakes, FL 33014. View this Guest Book at www. MiamiHerald.com/obituaries

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