Hydock’s program tells story of Norman Rockwell

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

“I love reading about the journey of artists and writers who at some point in their life, become ‘famous’ and well-known, along with their work,” said Dolores Hydock in her introduction to her performance of “Every Picture Tells a Story; The Storytelling of Norman Rockwell.”

“We forget, when fame arrives, that their journey was not necessarily an easy one. I love reading about the hills and valleys, their chutes and ladders.”

When BMOA held an exhibit of all 343 of Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers a few years back, Hydock was called in to research for the exhibition—this was the genesis for the current presentation.

Hydock shared the following quotes from Rockwell:

‘I was a skinny kid, not unhealthy, but a long skinny nothing. A beanpole without any beans! My mother used to call me snow-in-the-face because I was so pale.’”

‘I used to pull my sleeve over one hand when we walked along the street so people would think I only had one hand and feel sorry for me.’

‘My brother, Jarvis, was a year and one half older than me, and he was the best athlete in the school. A real boy’s boy—fearless strong and fast. I didn’t have any of that. All I had was the ability to draw, which as far as I could see, didn’t count for very much.’

‘But it was all I had, so I made it my whole life. I drew all the time. Gradually my narrow neck longneck and pigeon toes became less important to me. I drew and I drew and I drew.’

“He left high school at 15 to go to art school,” Hydock said. “In high school, his worst subject was art!” before leading her audience through a very well-received narration of more of Rockwell’s life.

Hydock’s free program was sponsored by Road Scholars, a program of The Alabama Humanities Foundation.

Brian Peters, president of the current JHPL Board, who was also present, shared that Helenalibraryfoundation.org will be soon online for tracking the future new library to be built on 17 acres of land. There is already a city resolution to hold the land.

“We need to raise $10 million dollars,” Peters said, adding, “To date we have $467. The board and foundation will be separate entities and we are in the process of researching grant opportunities. Our IRS work is in place, but it will be a slow process.

“We envision a three-pronged concept, a facility for the library, arts education, perhaps a theater, all located near our current schools,” he continued. “The current JHPL is 27 years old. We know we are dreaming big. The future is bright, but there are a lot of unknowns.”

The website will be available soon: Helenalibraryfoundation.org.