I was doing a lot of shooting in Key West. There was a famous emporium there called Fastbuck Freddys. That is were I met the Penguins. I bought four life size
plastic ones. Being a Nordic kind of guy, I named them Sven, Ben, Ken and Len.
I took my tribe everywhere and set them up in front of Niagara Falls, Sloppy Joes, Miami Beach, the Deco district.
With silly putty I attached small plastic flamingos on them, sometimes had them hanging off their beaks. I made lots of clever images and some actually sold.
Then I had a great idea. At the art shows I would sometimes "Penguin" one of my favorite artist' booth. I loved hiding in the shadows early in the morn and watching their expressions when they discovered I had "Penguined" them.
Got a little rep for this over the circuit.
So, I was doing the Crosby Gardens show in Toledo, about 1985.
I had seen Norm at many shows, he always did well. But he was not an easy man to get to know. I always smiled big time at Connie, she was a beauty.
So I got inspired and decided to "Penguin" Norm's booth early Sunday morning.
He showed up and saw them and he was very annoyed.
Well, I humbly gathered up my tribe and quietly slunk away. I noticed Connie smiling. She was amused.
Thus started my long association with Connie and Norm. He would put up with about three sentences from me and then tune me out. We were not going to be best buds.
But Connie always smiled.
Years later Norm retired from the biz and passed away.
Connie was on her own and needed some way to make income.
She started ArtfairInsiders.
I was an early convert.
It was a forum where I could blog about the shows I did.
People followed my posts religiously and often commented their opinions back at me.
Soon found out I had a real flair for this, and I loved writing.
God bless Martha Pence, my eighth grade English teacher at Southside Junior High in St. Petersburg. She taught me well. I can still remember how to diagram a sentence.
Connie encouraged me to write as often as I wanted. And she rarely edited any of my prose.
With her retiring, I feel I have lost my muse.
But, I still have plenty to say and I will keep on, I am only 76.
Not ready to retire.
The Penguins still remember Connie. They would chirp at me, asking, "Hey did you get a great smile from that blonde?" I would smile back--and then we all would eat sushi.
Aloha, Connie, keep on smiling.
PS. Sven and Ben are in the photo with Buzz the Wonderdog, circa the eighties.
Len and Ken booked off to Sweden with Ursula Andress for cheap sushi.