Friday, November 8, 2013


By Ed VanDeMark

My wife, Linda is fantastic, beautiful, the love of my life and she has a ton of other wonderful qualities but there is only one most beautiful woman on the planet at any given time. 

I saw this young woman on the Buffalo State campus in the fall of 1962. She was too gorgeous to have a name that equaled her appearance. Rather than discover her parents hung Hilda or Dorcas on her, I intentionally didn’t attempt to find out what her parents tagged her with. Because of her flaxen hair, azure eyes, and pure unblemished skin she lives in my mind as “The Swedish girl."

I chose not to meet her because it would have been a downer to discover she had so much as a single flaw. Mostly I didn’t try to meet her because I was a tall skinny guy with acne, an off beat personality, a cumulative grade point average of 2.9 and a history being a girl's friend but never her love interest .

My Swedish girl had to remain flawless. There was no way around it. I couldn’t risk having it any other way. I didn’t ask any questions about her for fear someone might damage my dream image. Perfection is not to be messed with. As an artist I know the hardest thing to do is to know when to say my painting is at its zenith, it is finished.

 Less is not enough and more is too much. 

She was at her zenith and I had to lock her in my memory at that point. It hurt to watch Willy Mays continue his career after he headed down the other side of the mountain of perfection. I couldn’t let that happen to the most gorgeous woman I’ve ever seen.

She lives in my mind as she was the day I first saw her in 1962. At that moment, at that instant she was at her peak of perfection. It's the eye of a true artist that captures perfection and preserves it for all time.

 In addition I was a tall skinny guy with acne, an offbeat personality and a 2.9 cumulative grade point average. I was also a third string  outfielder on our college baseball team who couldn't hit a high inside curve. History told me a girl like her was scoping out the hunks and the bad boys. Second place is painful, never getting a second look is much worse.

Perfection aside the worse thing of all is never coming up to bat. So nine years later when Linda came into my life I stood up to the plate and took my cuts.  

Edward is a pompous name and Eddie is condescending, I therefore prefer to be called “Ed” which is, in my opinion, neither pompous nor condescending.
I was born in Endicott, New York on July 16, 1941 and have lived most of my life fifteen miles west of Endicott in or near the village of Owego. When I find something good I stick with it.
I’m married to Linda (Masters). We have three fine adult children (Tony, Lisa and Dan) and nine wonderful grandchildren ranging in age from 20 to 2.
I write about my observations of life and draw cartoons because there is a force embedded deep inside of me that will not release me to ignore these modes of expression. I’m not interested in a second career as a writer or as a cartoonist. I’ve served my time meeting other people’s deadlines and I’m not in love with the tension they cause yet I do send off finished works for publication. Chicken Soup for the Soul has published three of my stories as have other lesser known publications.
The two best pieces of advice I’ve received as a writer are 1. Just tell your story and 2. Make it sing.
God Bless you my friends.                             

Ed VanDeMark.


H. Kirk Rainer said...

Batting average, GPA, complection; all these things don't matter when your passion takes the field.

Good story.

Gail Kittleson said...

Good to meet you, Ed. Thanks for the post--the smiles did my heart good today.

Gail Kittleson

Caroline said...

Interesting! Sounds as if you landed on your feet without too much trouble. Enjoyed it!

Donna B said...

I love it! And what great writing advice!!!

Linda Robinson said...

Nice one, Ed. I enjoy your blogs.

Claude Nougat said...

Ed, you certainly made your story "sing"! Thanks for sharing your way "out" of the Swedish girl dream...

alice wisler said...

Love the way you wrote this piece!