HENDRICKS - On Friday, the Hendricks Nursing Home had its first-ever art exhibit of 18 paintings done by resident Teresa Ebbers Ford. What make the exhibit remarkable was that the paintings were done in 1944-45 and only recently rediscovered.
"This is the first time she's seen them in 68 years," said Ford's daughter, Patrice Widmark. "I found them in the pink room. We grew up in a big white house where every bedroom had its own color."
According to Ford's son Peter, the house was an old farmhouse in Iona with no insulation in the walls and the kids could hear the mice running around inside them at night. The paintings were found way back in a closet with old magazines that had been nibbled by mice, but the paintings themselves were untouched and in good condition.
Photo by Steve Browne
Connie Grode shows a painting “Fairy Tales,” done by her aunt Teresa Ebbers Ford, on display at the Hendricks Nursing Home.
Ford said she did the paintings as an assignment for an Art 100 class at Mankato Teachers College.
"A fine school," Ford said.
Widmark told the nursing home's social services director Gwen Meyer she'd found a portfolio of paintings by her mother.
"She had one hanging in her mom's room and said she had 18 she intended to frame them," Meyer said. "I said, 'Let's have and art show.'"
Sandy Lacek, activity director, worked with the staff dietitians to organize the lunch and helped turn it into a community event.
"We've had an artist to teach art before, but we've never had an art show," Lacek said. "One resident said to Teresa, 'I can't believe you did all this.'"
Surprisingly for paintings that were so well-received, Ford did not keep up with art, and her children didn't know what their mother had accomplished in her youth. After graduation she taught English in a country school near Iona and taught Sunday school until she was 80.
Now 84, she lives in Hendricks and enjoys visits from her children: Pam, Patrice, Pricilla, Paulette, Portia, Patty, Peter, Perry and Peggy, and their children and grandchildren.
"We had a 'P' thing going in the family," Widmark said. "Prayers were kind of interesting in our family."
And by the way, she got an A in the course.