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Dad’s drawings: A tiny treasure found

In a recent post I mentioned that sometimes when I’m drawing I’m wistfully reminded of the wonderful cartoony sketches my dad used to do. I remember one time he drew me, all knobby knees and elbows and I loved seeing my image appear–it was like magic! I thought none of his drawings or paintings remained, having been angrily disposed of by his second to last wife (all right, his second wife, but it was all so dramatic and scandalous at a time when divorce was rare and he was moving on to his third and last wife.)

When I was helping my mom try to find an old photo album in her garage yesterday, we found a tiny greeting card-sized album containing mementos of her marriage to my dad–a few wedding photos and some cards and sketches he’d made for her when she was pregnant with me. I felt like I’d found an absolute treasure and was so pleased that she allowed me to take his sketches with me.

My dad died a few years ago around this time of the year so it’s really nice to be able to remember him now through his drawings and to share them with you on my blog.

(All of the following images by my dad, Howard Goldstein, can be enlarged by clicking on the image and then on “All Sizes”)

Below: Charting the labor pains “June 17, June 18” (I was born on June 19th.)
dad 2

Below: “RivaLee Enters A Room”
dad 3

Below: Talking to the doctor: “And then at 2:16 she had a harder pain but at 2:27 she…”

dad 1

These were all drawn in pencil on the back of paper that said “Enrollment Blank for the California School of Screen Process,” a mail-order art school business my father and two uncles ran for a while in the late 1940s. I guess by the time of my birth the forms had become scratch paper and the school was no more. According to the Enrollment Blanks, their school offered a diploma, a 10 page booklet on how to conduct a profitable business and “10 individual, easy to read, simple to understand lessons that will give practical experience” along with a “Complete Kit of Supplies: Paints, silk, materials, photographic supplies, frame, squeegee, stencil knife, tacks, hinges…in fact, all the materials necessary to complete the course.” Fortunately they all went on to have very successful careers in their chosen professions.

7 replies on “Dad’s drawings: A tiny treasure found”

Jana: Your sweet, touching note brought tears to my eyes … how incredibly awesome to find this snippet from a beloved father!! How throroughly PRECIOUS!!!

I too have little ‘written’ from my father … and the one and only thing I HAVE — his signature on a “Notes to the Christchild” I make every member of my family write for Christmas to thank God for their year — is my most prized possession…..

And your note is a reminder too, that the doodles, sketches, words, journals we painstakingly create will someday be the treasures of those left after we are gone ….. and to treasure each of those in the making ….

SO SO pleased for you, my friend!


Jana, looking at these sketches is like a page in a history book. I see where you get your sense of humor! What a treasure these are. You should frame them all together in one frame and call it “Early Portrait of Jana” by her Dad.


I hope someone (like my grandnewhew or niece) find my sketches when I ‘m gone and they can recollect great memories… Because of these sweet story, I think of them now as postcards to the future.


Jana- This is one of those posts that deserves more than just a comment. What a wonderful story. This is SO special. I can’t believe that not only do you have sketches of your dad’s, but they were sketches about you, before you were you! Amazing.


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