Story, Drawing and Photograph by Sandshoe
No other reason why I titled this satirical line drawing ‘Ciccente’ than liking the name when I heard it. A friend who was a traveller, a singer-composer-songwriter, jack-of-all-trades really told me about his impressions on meeting Ciccente, a co-worker in New York who washed dishes to contribute to the support of his wife and extended family. We exchanged stories.
In a patisserie where I worked in Auckland, a giant of a man who was a Pacific Islander immigrant and sole support of his family washed dishes with water running off his giant arms and giant elbows making the floor slippery (although no-one said). I didn’t know his name. He didn’t speak. I started work at 6 a.m. without question.
In the same year I lived at an address behind a rambling wooden boarding house of lodgers and my visitors were street people. I converted the walls of the shed into a display of art and writing-Primus. Audience genuinely enjoyed their viewing. I served hot tea and a steaming bowl of whole oat porridge at any time of the day when I was home. The rent I paid was a pittance. The unit was a converted claptrap of a shed formerly used for garaging a household car.
Sometimes I visited premises up along the ridge of a decaying High Street where a coterie of youthful designers and musicians lived in vacant warehouses. They worked in menial occupations. A close friend was waiting to hear about an application for admission into an Art College. I had never thought of that. One shop front vendor I identified with because he too had worked at premises in the city where I did. I saw style reflected and recognised my own.
Meanwhile, the cost of living was soaring, yet these were heady days, made so by glimpsed roses in inner city straggling gardens and the rush of the traffic even on the overpass over Newton Gully. These are places in the city to-from where we do not usually stop a car and can barely look. I was one with knowing the city around me and sense of rush under me, walking with abandonment and abandoning a preconception given me I could not survive without support. We do generally survive arduous emotional events that we experience when we are parents. I had separated from my family to survive. We have to survive and find a way back.