Midsummer Night’s Dream for Hannah

I mean, I must be dreaming, right? How else could my niece be a sweet baby one minute, a darling girl the next, and then suddenly, a newly minted 20 year old—in college, with a job, a driver’s license, and an apartment?

Happy Birthday Hannah!

Happy Twentieth Birthday, dear Hannah! As you can see, no matter how old, poised, accomplished and wise you become, your nutty auntie still sees you in her mind’s eye cavorting with fairies and gnomes, costumed cats and mice. (I’m so sorry, dear!)

Another thing that seems like a dream to me, is the year I spent at Grinnell College, alongside your parents, when they were the age that you are now. On the one hand, it seems like yesterday, but it also feels like a unique time and place, never to be recaptured.

Since we didn’t carry cameras around, here are a couple sketch “snapshots” of your folks at twenty and twenty-one, that you saw once before (and liked, I think), some years back. —Just for fun, as a special birthday treat.

Iowa Bus Station

I drew the above during a transfer stop at an Iowa bus station late one night, when Carol and I  took “the dog” (the Greyhound bus) back home during a mid-term break. (That looks like a very fat book your mom is taking notes on, no?)

Caro Tuttle at Grinnell CollegeSometimes I would tag along when Carol would reserve a practice room on campus, to play on one of the Music Department’s oddly-black-key-deficient pianos. (Just kidding. For these sketchbook drawings, I never filled in details afterwards, but just drew what I saw in front of me until I ran out of time or steam. So, very often, chairs don’t have legs, people don’t have feet, rooms don’t have floors, etc..)

And here’s your handsome dad, Hannah, studying at Pinetree House, I think, the vegetarian food co-op where they lived off campus (like you are are doing now).

Gary Moseson at GrinnellWhile I may not have captured the best likenesses in these sketches, they preserve something for me that I still see when I look at your folks: They are still the wonderful, caring, hardworking & focused people they always were. (Hmm…not unlike their dear daughters, you and your sister.)

But enough with the images of people working and studying! Let’s sign off with an image of people frolicking—a reminder to go out and celebrate tonight (or soon): Here’s an old engraving of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, courtesy of Wikipedia, that I thought you might enjoy.

Engraving, Midsummer Night’s Dream

Queen of the FairiesAnd one more vintage image, this one of Titania, Queen of the Fairies—who would likely align with me in wanting to coax you out to have some fun today. But regardless of how you spend your birthday, dear niece, I hope you have a wonderful, magical day, and a bright and beautiful year ahead.

And even though the rest of my readers are not likely having birthdays today,  I wish you all the same: a wonderful day, followed by many more ahead. I hope everyone is getting through the heat wave OK, and finding shady bowers to frolic in—if not in their waking hours, than in their dreams. Happy Wednesday!

About Jean Tuttle

Jean Tuttle is a Chicago-area illustrator, designer, and doodler.
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8 Responses to Midsummer Night’s Dream for Hannah

  1. omg what an incredible birthday tribute. jean you are really amazing. these drawings are priceless.

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      I’m so glad you liked them, Gayle! So fun for me to draw these images—both then and now. —And so lucky to have such kind and tolerant models, in both generations. (That’s what family’s for, yes?)

  2. Carol says:

    A lovely tribute, Jeanie, and I loved seeing your sketches again. Thanks for being such a great sister and auntie as well as a very gifted (and generous) artist. Of course I’m biased, but I’m also right.

  3. Carol says:

    What a treat to see your college sketches of Carol and Gary! I either didn’t know or have long since forgotten that you spent a year at Grinnell, Jean. (It was obviously more memorable for you than for me!)

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      Thanks, Carol! Yes, part of my BFA requirement for Parsons was a year of academic credits — English, Science, etc. I decided to leave NYC for a year and go get them at Grinnell. So glad I did, too. It was a taste of that classic American college campus experience that I never would have had otherwise. But I think it is pretty telling that while your brother and my sister are so hard at work, I am drawing. I probably should have been studying, too — It was a heck of a lot tougher academically than I was prepared for. But yes, it was very memorable…and great to spend time with Carol and Gary back when they were still just boyfriend and girlfriend, and not yet married.

  4. Hannah says:

    Ohmygosh Aunt Jean! Thank you!!!!!!!!! This is so sweet and wonderful, and don’t worry, I don’t plan on ever outgrowing my love for fairies and costumed cats, one might as well outgrow chocolate and sunshine. And thank you for posting your sketches! It’s amazing to see such a great rendering of my young beardless dad studying in the exact same position that he sits in while going over his work papers nowadays, graybeard that he is. And seeing both my parents in overalls is a better present than I could ever have hoped for. Thank you so much, this is such a wonderful treat, I’m tickled quite pink.

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      I’m so happy you liked it, Hannah! You can’t imagine how fun this was for me to “dream up” for you. Thanks for being the wonderful and irreplaceable person and niece — and the indulgent/appreciative audience for my wacky drawings — that you are and have always been. Lots of love…and hope you had a truly wonderful birthday.

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