I have wonderful news about the P.
Buckley Moss Society’s project to include English instruction
in the small island schools near Bocas del Toro, Panama. As many
of you know, this project started with the Society funding an English-speaking
teacher, supplies, and some transportation. At the time the project
was started, the Panamanian government was not funding English instruction
in the small island schools. The English teacher funded by the
Society is Virginia Vasquez, a native of Bocal del Toro, and an excellent
teacher and manager. A few years ago, the funding of the project
was shifted from the Society to foreign locals in the area who could
afford to support the program, while Virginia continued to manage the
program and teach.
This picture was taken in 2002 in one of Virginia’s classrooms.
I’m standing in the center in the back, and Virginia is the tall
lady on my left, your right. Aren’t the children wonderful!
My wonderful news is that the program will now be supported
financially by the Panamanian government! About a year ago, Virginia
met with Panama’s Minister of Education, and Senior Rodriquez
was so impressed with Virginia’s management of the program and
the support of the Society and the local community that he asked what
the government could do to help. Now, one of the schools will
receive new computers, and the government will provide two more English
teachers. The two new teachers will be responsible for two island
schools each. The local funding effort will continue to provide
transportation for children from Solarte to Carenero and will also support
a teacher for two more schools for one year. With the government
support of the program, the local funding effort will try to shift to
the provision of libraries and dental and medical clinics as the funds
become available. The Minister, in the meantime, has appointed
Virginia as director of the island English program and coordinator of
the two programs.
I am so thrilled that the spark our Society started has become a torch
that has been passed on to the local communities and the Panamanian
government. I am also delighted that Virginia has received the
recognition that she deserves, too. None of it would have been
possible without her.
This is my last week in St. Petersburg, Florida. It’s time
for me to head back up to Virginia as my show
schedule starts to really kick in. I couldn’t resist
going back to the Decorators’ Show House that I told you about
last week, though, because when I was there I fell in love with two
pieces of Oriental-styled furniture with the most beautiful orange patina.
I had to see them again. I get to see art everywhere I go, and
I love to see it in furniture. If I had another house, I would
furnish it all in pieces like those.
My niece Patty (my sister Honey’s daughter—I also have a
daughter named Patty) and her husband surprised me with a visit.
Harold went to spend some time with his mother, and Patty and I went
to lunch. Patty is retired from teaching art at a university in
Texas, so we talked about art and reminisced about family. Patty,
like me, has a great appreciation of Italy and visits there often, so
we had even more to talk about. We had a great time together.
My Patty is coming down this week to help me with the drive to Virginia.
We’ll stop in Marietta, Georgia, along the way for my show with
The Framery on March 28. I have so many dear friends in the Atlanta
area, and our relationship together goes back twenty or thirty years.
I’m looking forward to seeing them and also to making some new
friends. Gallery owner Barry Watson and I will release my latest
print of the Atlanta area, titled The Margaret Mitchell House.
I’m sure all of you know who Margaret Mitchell is; she wrote Gone
With the Wind, of course!
The house was originally built as a two-story, single-family home in
1899 and was converted into a three-story apartment building in 1919.
Margaret Mitchell and her husband John Marsh lived in Apartment #1 during
the years 1925-1932, during which time she wrote most of Gone With
the Wind. The classic novel was published in June, 1936,
and Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for it in May, 1937.
The book inspired one of the greatest movies of all time, which premiered
at Loew’s Grand Theater in Atlanta on December 15, 1939.
Among those present at the premier were actress Vivien Leigh, who won
an Oscar for her portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara; actor Clark Gable,
who is unforgettable as Rhett Butler; and author Margaret Mitchell.
The Margaret Mitchell House will be released during my show with
The Framery in Marietta, GA, on March 28. For more information,
please contact the gallery at 770-977-8667.