Priscilla Doodle Party

Today marks the third year that we’re having Mom’s birthday without her, Priscilla having passed away in May of 2010. But even though I still miss her terribly, it feels like a happy day to me—a chance to celebrate and remember. And for Priscilla’s cat Charlotte, it’s a chance to wear her giant “Mom & Me” locket, and a delicious birthday cake hat—Priscilla  “in her heart” and “on her mind.”

—As she is for me always…but especially today.

Priscilla Birthday Party

In Priscilla’s honor, I’m posting something a little different today, that I know she’d enjoy: some vintage monkey business by the late Jim Lunde, talented Chicago designer, prolific doodler, and her great, good friend. Lunde and Mom (before she was “Mom”), worked alongside each other at Container Corporation of America, under Albert Kner, in the late 1940s/early 1950s.

Here’s how the camera captured Mom at Container (left), and how Lunde did (at right).  —Like I needed to point out to you which was which. 😉

Priscilla Young at Container Corp of America

These wonderful (and sometimes wicked) little Lunde masterpieces—the ones Mom squirreled away, anyway—were mostly drawn on little scraps of paper that Lunde used to wipe his paintbrushes on as he was working—this being back in the day when graphic designers hand-lettered type. A little daub of paint would likely catch his eye and spark an idea — the way someone else might see a shape in a cloud formation that looked like a bunny, perhaps.

But in Lunde’s case it wasn’t bunnies, but birds, that he imagined, and which gave birth to many a character and visual pun, like this “shoebill stork” he doodled for Priscilla’s 24th birthday…a July 11th, 63 years ago.

Jim Lunde Birthday Doodle for Priscilla Young

Here are a couple of Lunde’s more flattering drawings of Mom—and a couple that aren’t. The caption on the second one from the left reads: “You look positively vibrating this morning. Did you sleep on your head?” —A reference not only to the vibration of green against magenta, but to a jarringly bad hair day Priscilla must have been having—I guess!


One almost has to see these drawings “in the flesh” though, to fully appreciate them and their inventiveness. (Which is what Mom was so charmed by, I think. —That, and their humor.)

Here’s one where Lunde has made a miniature Pris head on a photograph of an eye. The doodle is half an inch tall—I’ve included Lunde’s letterhead for scale, and at right, a blow-up of the pupil area so you can see the fine detail.

Portrait of Priscilla Inside of an Eye

Sometimes Lunde glued in little bits of things, like a dried flower petal, making the gown for the dancer at right.

Priscilla Young Tuttle Figures by Jim LundeSomewhere in her career as one of Lunde’s (many) doodle muses—no co-worker was safe, even the boss—Mom acquired the pet name “Pearl.” Was it because of her pearly whites? It seems entirely possible.

Priscilla Pearl Young by Jim LundeBelow is the only drawing in Mom’s treasure box where Lunde has drawn her as a human female. The joke seems to be, at five o’clock she leaves the office and is magically transformed from the strange Lunde-bird-creature she is at work, into someone with a neat hairdo and pressed clothes. —His admission, perhaps, that she’s more attractive than he portrays her as being? (What is it with those feet, though?)

Five PM Priscilla

Priscilla and Jim Lunde in HeavenJim Lunde passed away some years ago, but I like to think that he and Mom have reconnected and are sharing  a birthday toast tonight—maybe even have a peephole into cyberspace, so they can revisit his drawings, and reminisce about good times at Container. Or who knows: Maybe Lunde is still doodling…a Priscilla/Pearl angel-bird with a broken harp and clumsy footwear? (Maybe!)

Wherever you are, Mom, and whomever you’re with, here’s lookin’ at you! Lots of love on your birthday, and always. And thank you Mr. Lunde for your fabulous drawings…the delight they gave Mom, and  still give the rest of us. What can I say? Your genius lives on!

Meanwhile, greetings to all my friends on a Wednesday evening. Thanks for your kind patience between my (hardly daily) doodles, and hope life has been treating you well since we last visited. I’ll look forward to connecting again real soon. Meanwhile, many happy dreams, and all the best!


About Jean Tuttle

Jean Tuttle is a Chicago-area illustrator, designer, and doodler.
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12 Responses to Priscilla Doodle Party

  1. Alece says:

    Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful sketches Jean! I love the picture of your 24-year-old mom. You look just like her. A heartwarming and inspirational post.

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      I’m so glad you liked these, Alece — I’ve been wanting to post some of Jim Lunde’s doodles for a while, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. The guy was just a doodling genius, in my book (and apparently an excellent designer as well). It was fun getting Dad reminiscing about him last night, as I was trying to get my facts straight for today’s post. He and Mom were both so terribly fond of him, and I can see why.

  2. Carol says:

    Jean, these are lovely as always. I’m always surprised at how much Mom looked like you in her early years. I promise I won’t tell Charlotte but you look like sisters only in different eras. Great Lunde scribbles. Had Mom not been such a well-behaved professional back in the day, there would be a clutch of supremely wicked doodles teasing him back.

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      I think you’re right, Sis! I asked Dad about that, i.e., Did Mom ever reciprocate with doodles aimed back at him? He said no, he was pretty sure it was a one-way thing.

      Meanwhile, I think at 24 Mom and I were a lot alike in that we had pockets of confidence but were also kind of shy and socially reserved. And so I also think Mom probably loved that Lunde just ignored that and “stormed her castle” anyway with all this silly, playful monkey business, when others might have kept a polite distance and “respected her space.” I sure would have (loved it, I mean).

  3. Eileen Barrett says:

    what a beautiful and fascinating tribute. thank you !

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      Thanks, Eileen. I am so happy you enjoyed it! I had to ask Dad, with a sense of humor like that, was Lunde Irish at all? (Mom was half Irish, and I think of her own humor as having been very much shaped by that.) But no, like his surname, he was all Scandinavian (or so Dad thought). There must be some overlap in the sensibilities though, no?

      Anywho, thanks so much for your comment. So nice seeing you on here — and on Facebook, too.

  4. Karen says:

    Absolutely delightful Jean in every way, thank you for sharing this celebration with us. Happy Birthday Priscilla!

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Karen! Even though I sneakily plied Dad with Lunde questions last night (so I’d get my facts straight), I wanted this to be a surprise for him tonight. I know we were all thinking of Mom today, and I know she would have wanted us to do so in a way that made us smile. And so we all were here. :-)

  5. These are great, Jean! Enjoyed the glimpse into your Mom’s worklife.

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      Thanks, Dorothy — So glad you liked! I love picturing my mom as a working designer-gal also. I think her colleague Jim Lunde really captured her, and her many facets — confident and shy, naive and opinionated (in a good way, of course) — making it much easier for me to imagine what she was like at that age and in that setting.

      By the way, the fellow in the photograph at the drawing table in front of Mom is Jack Penson, who eventually went to work at Sears (one of Container’s clients) and then lured away my mom to work there, too. It’s there that she met my dad, who was a copywriter and also assistant manager of the package design department. Soon after they married, Jack and my dad left Sears to form their own package design firm, Penson/Tuttle.

      (I was a little foggy on some of these details, so writing this post was a great excuse to ask Dad about them and get a clearer picture.)

      Thanks, as always, for dropping in for a look and saying hello!

  6. Marge Penson Anderson says:

    Oh, what a complete fluke that I came across this page. I am Jack Penson’s daughter. I was quite young when they formed Penson/Tuttle, but do remember it, including some visits to his office. Dad passed away maybe 20 years ago, and we just lost Mom (MaryElizabeth) recently. I’m trying to remember your dad’s first name – was it Jim? I do remember the name Priscilla Tuttle well. Wow! Do please say hello to your dad from our family. We are all living in Texas these days. Gosh, what a treat this is to come across, especially a photo of my dad at such a young age!

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      Marge, what a wonderful surprise! Thanks so much for commenting. And may I say, I am so sorry you lost your dad so young…as well as, I’d like to express my family’s condolences for the recent loss of your mom, also. Even though I am only at the 2-year mark myself, I have a hunch that the loss of a mother can feel very recent for years to come…

      Meanwhile, I am so happy you remember my mom, Priscilla — and yes, you have got Dad’s name right as well. Will definitely pass your greetings on to him—I know he’ll get a big kick out of that!

      And since I now have your email, I’ll send you a higher resolution scan of that photo, also, so you can see your dad’s face more clearly. (In addition to being an excellent designer, he was certainly very handsome!)

      Thanks again, Marge, and all the best!

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