Dinner on April’s Veranda With the Ancient One

November 6th, 2008


On the last golden day of Fall, I had dinner on April’s porch with my sister and her husband, Clay.


Did you know that all three of us started out in various forms of art degrees at KU? April was an industrial arts major, Clay was an architect major, and I was a graphic design major.


Please stop laughing April. Please stop! You know I wanted to be a fashion designer! Which is why it makes perfect sense that I chose to go to KU… a college that has absolutely no fashion design degree of any kind!  


I remember very well, trying to explain this to my father as my parents were driving me to KU to drop me off for the start of my Freshman year. 

“Uh… well dad… I uh… that is I um… well… I hope to become a famous fashion designer and you know… so I will like take some graphic design classes and uh… you know.. since I already know how to sew… I think it will all like… just sort of uh… you know… work out… and I will um… like…. probably be a famous millionaire fashion designer before Christmas.”


And dad looked at me JUST LIKE THAT APRIL!!! 

Except he did not have a glass of wine. 
But I bet he needed a glass of wine really badly right then…


Strangely, this is not a post about me, or about wine, or about fashion design… 


It is a post about nude models.


You see, all three of us were required to take a “life drawing class” for our various degrees. Even though none of us ever got those degrees… except Clay… he did become an architect… 

But, all three of us did complete the “life drawing class” which met for THREE HOURS, twice a week.


“Life Drawing” was in fact how April and Clay met. But I will let April tell you that story. Today we will only speak of the nudes.


Clay will go first.


In Clay’s first “life drawing class” he focused his entire drawing on the man’s wrist and of course the watch… which the model still had on. He drew the hand and the wrist and the arm and the watch in great detail.


Then the teacher stepped up behind Clay and examined his work….


And he told Clay that he needed to draw the entire body.

Clay was foiled again.


April recounted the delightful time that there was a ball of fuzz trapped in the model’s uh… the model’s uh… the uh… model’s body


This made it very difficult for her to focus on anything except the ball of fuzz.


And me… well I was not in the same class with April and Clay. I was alone. I was a freshman from a small town and had no idea that someone was going to walk into my classroom and take off all their clothes. 

Our class had met several times before the nude model showed up and we had drawn fruit, and piles of metal objects, and we had partnered up and drawn each other, but we had not taken off our clothes. So when the model… a male model… walked in… in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and proceeded to step into the middle of the class, peel off his pants… his shirt… and his underwear!!!!… and then stand there in front of us looking kind of bored… while we were instructed to draw his body… I am sure my eyes grew as big as cantaloupes!

I wanted to run out of the
class room. I wanted to hide inside of my drawing tablet. I wanted to melt into the floor and never be heard from or seen again. I was so embarrassed! 

I also had an unbelievably strong urge to burst out laughing. 
I wanted to laugh so much! 
It was gurgling up from my guts and forcing it’s way into my esophagus, and swinging back and forth on my tonsils, and clamoring around my cheeks and slipping off my tongue and pushing against my lips! 

I may have gasped a few times.  I may have coughed or made some unusual snorting sounds. But I did not laugh. I held that laugh for THREE SOLID HOURS. I literally thought I was going to die from NOT LAUGHING, but I did not laugh.

By the time the class was over, I was exhausted from holding myself in check for the entire class. I climbed up the hill to my dorm full of a great story for my roommates.  The girls all gathered around as I recounted every moment of my struggle.  And then we laughed.  We laughed until tears formed a lake beneath our feet and we almost drowned.  And I was greatly relieved.

I quickly grew accustomed to nude models… and shortly thereafter, they became nondescript… and then I hardly realized a nude person was standing in front of me… and then I started nodding off in class whenever there was a nude model. 

Just another nude model. 
What’s another nude model?


I believe this is called growth.

The end.