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After Us

The Pandemic

- By Ward Schumaker

A neighbor boy asked me what I remembered of the 1918 Flu Pandemic. I had to explain that, appearances aside, I wasn't quite that old. But in fact, when I was very young the world was hit with a different epidemic, one I couldn't comprehend at the time but which affected my family greatly. In my mind it became a mystery that needed to be unraveled and as I got older, in hope of understanding, I'd frequently ask my dad to repeat this story:

“It was 1948,” he'd tell me, “year of the epidemic. You were four, maybe five. I was dressing for work when your brother Cliff came running into the bedroom saying a man was pacing back-and-forth in front of the house, crying. Outside I found Chuck Renston walking in circles, holding his head and sobbing. Polio...


After Us

Fiddling during the First 100,000

- By Ward Schumaker

My wife said it took only one week for hydroxychloroquine to turn me into an old man. I'd been diagnosed with lupus, and it's the drug of choice used to combat that disease. But for many people it's difficult to tolerate, curiously causing problems that mirror the disorder.

On the medication, my fatigue became so great I sometimes slept fifteen to twenty hours per day; I was no longer able to walk to the corner and back, and climbing stairs became next to impossible. I worried about my eyesight (I've had two corneal transplants), because hydroxychloroquine can attack the retina and lead to blindness, unless carefully monitored. Yet no matter how much I complained, my doctor urged me to continue with the drug, because it was my only protection from lupus. Finally,...


After Us

Kids-In-Cages

- By Ward Schumaker

Over the last three years, many of the news items I've recorded in paint have seemed funny, surreal, or even unbelievable—but some were disturbingly sad: for example, Kids-in-Cages. Because of resolute news people and a few inquiring members of Congress, it was exposed that our government was imprisoning hundreds, even thousands, of families at the border. Kids were separated from their parents and housed in metal cages, living under rules like: Do not touch another child even if that child is your little brother or sister. How do you tell a three-year-old such a thing? (Taking into consideration that the workers and the children often did not even share a common language.) Because of inadequate housekeeping and care, many became sick, some died, and...


After Us

Foxes in the Time of Coronavirus

- By W. D. Ehrhart

(Photo by Anne Ehrhart)

 


 

 


 

 

 

Never saw the like of it before:
four sets of railroad tracks on one side,
four lanes of traffic on another,
parking lots on either side, barely
space for bushes and a patch of grass,
an early April day, sun shining—
and there, beside the fir tree, a fox.
There, another.  Smaller.  And another!
Three, four, five, six!  Incredible.
A vixen and her six small kits,
the mother keeping watch, aware of us,
fifteen feet away, my wife and I,
but not alarmed so long as we stood still,
her babies tussling, tumbling, racing,
pouncing, prancing, chasing one another,
having fun, though...


After Us

Trump Papers

- By Ward Schumaker

For years I earned my living as an illustrator, my work appeared in print with a story attached, words; so when I stopped illustrating and returned to fine art, it was natural for me to include words in that as well. But nothing political.

Until Trump got elected.

At that point I began creating books filled with Trump quotes; I still found much of what he said somewhat amusing (though coarse and vulgar). But the humor quickly wore off, and I decided to stop. Still, Trump persisted, and I felt I had to, too.

I switched from making books to creating paintings, I call them Trump Papers, and I've now done over 130, employing hand-cut stencils of whichever words from the news bother me most that day. I'd love to return to the abstract expressionist works I...


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