Columbarium, 30"x40" oilpaint, watercolor, graphite,
coffee stains and ephemera half inch panel
in handmade framed by Kenney Mencher
It is inspired by a visit to the only and oldest mausoleum in San Francisco . The care taker, Emmitt Watson, gave us a tour and told us a ghost story about a little girl named Viola Von Staden. The story is a little long for me to tell it to you here, but here's the bones Viola von Staden died at the age of 7 in 1907 after she drank contaminated water following the Great Earthquake and Fire. Watson showed me a photo of Viola he had been given by one of the Von Staden's family (I used it for her portrait). Watson says he believes the child's spirit is one of those he's seen around the historic building. Here's a painting that shows both Viola's and his side of the story.
This painting was part of a one man show I had in San Francisco called "Renovated Reputations" that I had on my blog. There are several stories about this character read them all here:
I was thinking about the story and decided to write a version of Emmitt' story from his point of view and also from Viola's (the ghost's) point of view.
Here's what I wrote:
I was up on a ladder painting the moldings and I hear this little girl’s voice and I look over and I see this little girl walking by. She didn’t look like how people describe ghosts and I thought she was just a little girl. I thought, she’s so white, like she needs to go out in the sun. That’s what I remember thinking the most is that she didn’t have any color. I didn’t really think about it but then she goes behind the column and I’m thinking she must be hiding there cause she didn’t come out on the other side. I kept watching and looking for her thinking she might be hiding or something. So I come down and walk over and she’s not there.
I thought it was someone playing a trick on me but I remember it was right there in front of that box.
Mr. Emmitt was up on a ladder painting the moldings and I was skipping around the circle singing to myself and then he looked down at me. I never talked to him before because I’m just a little girl. Also my parents told me not to talk to the workmen especially the colored ones. He’s so brown and I never really saw someone like him up close. So I hid behind the column and I’m thinking he can’t hear me or see me cause I’m hiding there. I kept watching and looking for him and then I heard him come down the ladder and walk around the corner and I giggled cause he looked so surprised.
I thought it was he was playing a trick on me but I remember it was right there in front of that box.