October 10,2019


excerpt from

Ash Fork Madness©️

written by

Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison

copyright 2019 Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison


                       Seven Doors

Our old house had seven doors that led outside, but not one door had a key, despite the fact that seventy-five, rental house keys hung by one of our front doors. The very first time G.B. locked himself out of his house he threw away the seven keys to the seven doors. Without house keys the seven doors stood unlocked day and night, whether we were home or at work, in Phoenix, Oklahoma City or Canada.
At first I was particularly concerned about the house being left unlocked because at that time Ash Fork did not have a bank — just G.B.. At any one time we had hundreds, if not thousands of dollars (income from the rental houses and gas station) in the house. It was money which enabled G.B. to cash pay cheques and make loans to tenants and employees.
I once asked G.B. if he was ever concerned that someone might walk in and steal from him. He bristled at the very idea and growled threateningly, “They wouldn’t dare.”
Nevertheless, before we left on any long trip I stowed away everything I valued — quite sure I would return to a ransacked house with seven doors blowing in the wind.
I soon learned to appreciate the ability to fly through an unlocked door, without having to remember my keys. For a woman who throughout her entire life had regularly locked herself out — G.B.’s method was luxuriant serenity.
So when G.B. hollered, “Charle! Bring the Pepsi purse an‘ — LET’S GO!” I went, and seven doors stood unlocked ready to welcome us home — and ready to welcome anyone else who”‘visited” our house while we were away.
G.B.’s drive churned around the clock, and several times each night, despite taking prescription sleeping pills, his active thoughts wakened and propelled him out onto the dark streets of Ash Fork. As he drove up and down each street he would check on all his rental houses, his gas station, his post office, his old building, his stone building and at the west end of town, the stone yard.
With the nearest sheriff in Prescott, G.B.’s patrols were invaluable, and each one concluded with a visit to Alice’s Café — a twenty-four hour truck stop just past the stone yard. There G.B. would down a cup of coffee and talk to the night shift, then circle the town once more before returning home to sleep.
While G.B. guarded the little Arizona town that straddled Route 66, I slept alone and vulnerable behind seven unlocked doors.



Posted by Charlotte Madison at 07:58
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April, 2020
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January, 2020
For over forty years, painting related totally to the American Southwest. It was people of the dry hot desert, solid mesas, cacti, stone and canyons that made my heart leap.

When I realized I would never see the desert again, I began a search for something to paint. Nana suggested, B.C, vineyards and took me to Penticton where I did one painting. Nana and Gary then began to take me on Mystery tours of the island and always included a vineyard. But they all were so green! So many leaves so many trees - I don't do trees and I rarely use green - dont really like looking at green, but I got started on a duty series not an inspired series.

I guess it was July or early August when we were driving home from a winery visit. I was grousing about painting the Festive Flying Grape series when Gary said "Start another series, you can work on more than one at a time."

For some reason those words triggered the words "I could paint the Island artists!" Nana and Gary agreed and it was the topic of conversation all the way home

For a while I was afraid I wouldn't get volunteers to pose but it is rolling and each one offers something special to inspire me. And it is lovely to feel all I am doing was sparked by Gary and like all I do, supported by Nana.

April Update 2012 Sixteen fine artists, many of national repute, have posed for Artists of Vancouver Island and many are booked or promised. There will be no poses after June 30,2012. When I have painted all twenty-five I will turn my thought to . . . what next?