Set in Concrete: My Stuff & Stories May 6

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Man Throwing Newspapers Into Garbage – cast aluminum sculpture by Richard Beyer

The late Richard Beyer was internationally renown for his cast-aluminum sculptures, probably most famous for his life-size “Waiting for the Interurban” in Seattle’s Fremont District. I’d long been an admirer and was excited that I’d finally meet him at a showing of his work at Sun Mountain in the Methow Valley.

This small sculpture, only eighteen inches high entitled “Man Throwing Newspapers into Garbage,” immediately caught my eye.

“He could at least be recycling them!” I blurted to the gentleman standing next to me, who turned out to be Rich Beyer. It was the start of a good friendship. I bought the sculpture as a gift for my husband, John, who happily displayed it on the front counter at our newspaper office. It was a reminder not to take ourselves nor our work too seriously, as journalists are wont to do.

Rich generally had a low opinion of the press. He made an exception in our case. I ended up helping his wife, Margaret, with her book about Richard’s work, “The Art People Love.”

After John’s stroke, we built a concrete wheelchair ramp at the newspaper. Rich agreed to carve and paint a whimsical mural along the side of the ramp, assisted by contractor Gary Headlee. It was a colorful landmark for a few years. After we sold the building, the mural was demolished in a remodeling project. I was broken-hearted.

Yet, it’s a good reminder that nothing lasts forever, not even when set in concrete.

(To celebrate my 75th birthday this month, I’m posting daily stories about the stuff I’ve acquired over a lifetime and can’t let go of. I invite you to consider and possibly share the stories that make you treasure your own stuff.)

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