Next week will be my silver wedding anniversary to Lea. When we first met in late 1987, I was in a particularly tough spot. I was recovering from the break-up of my first marriage, trying to be a good dad to three little girls and working hard to sustain Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd.–all the while also trying to remain solvent. On our first date all I could afford was a walk in Afton Park and me cooking supper at her house (and I even had to borrow some cash at Lund’s to pay for the groceries.)
Well, these past 25 years have seen many ups and downs. Besides the normal rigors of aging, working and staying committed to my social and political leanings, I have enjoyed living with Lea more that I have enjoyed anything I have done in my life. To know why, you need to know about her.
Lea has a view of the world focused on equality and fairness. She is rigorous in her defense of good design. I know of no one who has a better sense of proportion, color, detail and design. Her father, the late Richard Babcock passed on his tenacity and no-compromise design integrity. While you do not want to be on her wrong side, she is superb at seeing things that simply pass others by. This has resulted in a harmony in our houses that is both calming and aesthetically pleasing–and of a high quality. In nearly every case, it was worth the debate. Our new home in Mexico is the first time we have been able to do something from scratch together. We are almost done. And it is a joy to be here with her.
Besides these design related attributes, she is a wonderful weaver. Coupled with her instinct to be modest and not share her beautiful work, I am one of the fortunate few that gets to see her work. I am hoping this will change now that she has a proper studio. The world needs to see her work. It synthesizes all her design sense with extreme technical understanding and craft. I do not understand the magic she creates. I only enjoy the alchemical results.
Her Dutch heritage means we have one of the cleanest houses on the planet! I never understood how much work and care went into making a home a home. Lea can spot a speck of dirt at 100 yards. This makes for a fun time when I cook: she refers to me as the Swedish Chef. I use every pot and pan and usually end up with as much on the floor as on the plate. Luckily, the results usually compensates for the mess!
She worked really hard at being a good step-mom to my three daughters. She had and has a deep commitment to their well-being, care and education. The perfect storm of my working too much, kids that were disoriented with a divorce and her own commitment to her photography business (she photographed architecture for magazines, architects and builders) meant there was, inevitably fall out, perpetual tiredness and tension. Now that we have perspective, and I have hind sight, there are, of course many changes I would make. But…it is time to look forward to another few decades (I sincerely hope) starting with leaving all that is behind us and focusing on our future of making art, our new life in Mexico and the being there for the emerging new families of the girls.
I am not exaggerating when I say I would not be here today if Lea had not come into my life. She gave up so much, so unconditionally, to support me. Now, in our 25th year, it is high time for me to support her. This drawing, done today, is an attempt to reveal the newness of coming into light and spending more time with Lea. Happy 25 Lea.