Mom’s Voice: My Day at the Museum

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Larry and Julie Sherwin with their dog Bogey in their Corona del Mar home.
Larry and Julie Sherwin with their dog Bogey in their Corona del Mar home.

About a month ago, our Newport Beach Independent’s weekly meeting was generously hosted at the home of the Indy’s photo editor, Lawrence Sherwin. Our editor, Chris Trela, was there with coffee and bagels for all.

As word counts, circulation, other newspaper related topics were discussed, I found myself becoming lost in my surroundings.While most cottages in the village of Corona del Mar are charming, this one’s charm was simply the backdrop to an explosion of color and textures.

Art pieces were tastefully placed, and hung throughout the house. I felt like I was plopped into an art museum, where sculptures, photographs, and woodcarvings representing a variety of styles, mediums, and ethnic origins, surrounded me.

I told Larry I simply had to return for a tour of the “museum.”

“Anytime,” was his reply.

And true to his word, Larry, his wife Julie, and their tail-wagging furry security guard Bogey, welcomed me last week. They were perfect curators and hosts.

On the sidewalk just outside their home, plastic kitschy pink flamingos stand in the ice plants watching over the kite-like John Deer tractor with wheels that spin in the wind.

As I stepped through the small whitewashed gate, onto the front brick patio, more goodies awaited me. Among my favorites: a large metal flamingo wearing metal flip-flops and sporting a Hawaiian shirt and straw hat; A rugged looking welded cowboy sculpture about three feet tall, wielding two pistols; and the scrap metal warthog from South Africa on the table.

On the other side of the patio, planted firmly in the soil, a tall sculpture with a simple large red heart.

Some people just have a gift for pulling off eclectic.

Inside the house, just as on the outside, I was given the background about each piece, a little something about the artist, and where the item was purchased. The faithful spoodle Bogey, followed us as we made our way from Kenyan woodcarvings of a man and woman – necks adorned with beads – to an etched ostrich egg bowl with a lid, a giraffe made from scrap coca cola cans, and a photograph of a baby monkey suckling from his mama monkey taken by Larry in Bali.

Exquisite pieces sat next to fun pieces. Equal billing and importance was given to the flamingo Christmas ornaments from a friend as the one of a kind aluminum tray and pitcher sculpted by an artist in South Africa.

Lawrence and Julie pointed out a few items that were given to each other as Valentine’s Day gifts including a giant stuffed handmade mermaid adorned with various buttons, fabric, and shells. FTD, eat your heart out.

Color, life, happiness, peace, and adventure exuded from their home. I think it is no coincidence that exact same things exude from both Julie and Larry.

My perfect day at the museum ended with one more surprise. We hopped in the car – void of backpacks, goldfish crackers, homework, or cleats – and drove, like civilized grown-ups, rather than a frenzied mom trying to get to school before the kids let out. We lunched at a deli where we chatted and laughed over the best matzo ball soup and turkey on rye.

My day at the museum was all I wanted it to be and more. While my life is full of color, and adventure of a different kind, I was inspired and left knowing what I must do first: Take the colorful needle pointed map of Iowa from the “to do” pile in the closet, and  have it matted, framed, and hung on the wall to enjoy.

I am grateful to Julie and Lawrence, my wonderful tour guides, and  my inspiration to find more colorful and adventurous paths ahead.

Visit Larry’s website to see his photos from all over the world:

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