Saturday, December 9, 2017

Wedding photos of Robert F. Winne and Patricia Holland

Patricia and Bob cutting their wedding cake 

Note: I have not included the names of guests. If someone wants their name associated with a particular photo, please contact me.

the couple:

some of the guests:

wedding announcement in Robert F. Winne's hand:

part of the vows said at the wedding:

Friday, December 8, 2017

lessons about bullying

This is a photo I took of my father at age 15 (I was taking care of him at the time).
I took this picture to never forget what he had been called to go through.
The original wasn't blue, but that is all I changed about it.
It is clear to me now that he was going through severe PTSD at the time.

(written by Lise Winne, Robert's daughter)

There were some issues that my father struggled with all of his life. Some of the conversations went on for days, as though he was trying to crack the code. One of those issues had to do with "bullying."

I would describe my father as ill-prepared for that darker part of human nature. He didn't grow up with controlling parents and he had a loving, respectful relationship with his sister which rarely broke out in fights.

He sometimes acted up as a child, which, as I understood it, happened most often when he was put to bed. Like a lot of children, he still hadn't finished playing or talking and would somehow manage to do both in a dark room with the lights out. His parents would come into the room and say in a reasonable calm voice, "Now you're getting awfully obstreperous in here; it's time to go to sleep, Bobby." They would keep saying it, through the evening if they had to, but they never punished him or made him do a "time out" (isolation for a period of time). He was certainly never physically disciplined by them and hated the thought of them being disappointed in him, so for the most part, he worked very hard to gain their approval. They exhibited a very gentle style of parenting and gave him a lot more independence than a lot of parents in those days. So there was no bullying in the home.

His parents were a very loyal couple. My grandmother in her sixties and seventies, was still good looking and young for her years, and became a "desirable catch" among older men in her senior living home. Her husband had passed away a decade earlier. She would tell these elderly gentlemen that she was already married. To her, marriage was forever, and if she went off with someone else, it would mean she was unfaithful. She took "until death you do part" to mean her death, even as she outlived her husband by twenty years. Even so, it was clear that she deeply loved and adored Mr. Winne Sr., that he was the apple of her eye, that no one could replace him, and she would always keep her marriage vows in honor of him.

My father's grandparents lived only blocks from his home and he would often stop to chat with them on his way home from school. They treated him with the same kind of respect that his parents treated him with.

His town neighborhood consisted of families very much like his own. Everyone had unlocked doors, and children could go into a house and announce their presence. My father would let the neighbor know he had entered a neighbor house by yelling, "It's me, Bobby! I'm downstairs in your livingroom!" and the woman of the house would greet him and ask him a bunch of questions, and even give him a snack if he wanted one. He learned how to talk to many adults, and I think this is why he always had a very respectful manner of speaking and an unusually keen way of listening and absorbing what was said. My sense is that neighbors were a resource for all children, and if a child couldn't get a skill from his parents, he simply went to another house to learn the skill.

The other children in the neighborhood were brought up in the same style as my father, respectful of adults, in homes with loving faithful parents who took their vows seriously, so there was no bullying to be found in his neighborhood.

He went to school in a town renowned for its teachers' college. The teachers were non distracted spinsters who were fabulous at their professions, but also very strict. As my father told it, "There was no nonsense in my school. You toed the line or else!" There were many young student teachers as well, but they were under the watch of these heavy-handed nun-like matrons of education. So there was no bullying there.

The camp that he went to every summer was run by a couple of lovey-dovey Quakers who believed in talking things out in a systematic, non-confrontational way. He became heavily influenced by them and sought the same ideals they did. So he didn't experience bullying there either.

For all intents and purposes, he was a sheltered child in the way that he never saw unpleasant human interactions, much the way the Buddha never saw old age or death until he left home.

I would describe my relationship with my father very much like the relationship he had with his parents: I was never physically disciplined by him, he had a calm way of parenting and I didn't want to disappoint him. I was probably a good deal more misbehaving than he was as a child (I did have a lot more anger than he did, but it had nothing to do with him at all). I did experience quite a bit of bullying as a child, but never quite understood why I was a target (what child does?). A few incidents had to do with bigotry and sexism (I was naturally non-prejudiced) and in school, my clothes were sometimes an issue (out-dated clothes make one a target). But beyond that I never understood what makes a person a target. Even when given reasons, the reasons always seemed irrational.

So, both my father and I were ill-equipped to know how to deal with bullying, why people wanted to bully, how they got that way, what was the grand purpose, and so on. We couldn't even muster up the thoughts "because of the bully wanting to dominate, for power and control" in those days. I can tell you that it was the single-most troubling issue of his life. It became the most troubling issue of my life too. The times in his life where he was hurt deeply, had to do with this subject. The pain festered in his heart for years, even decades. It took direct assault on his self esteem, his sense of security (in a world where a brutal war had already done quite a bit of damage in terms of PTSD). I didn't know what to do to ease his misery, to pluck it out of his mind or heart, or understand it myself. All I could do was commiserate. I would just try to find distractions, suggest walks, look at art together, talk about projects. In the end, it would sometimes amount to a long conversation about morality.

In my own life, as a child, I either put up with bullying by counting days I would be at summer camp (safety) or I would isolate to my room with a guitar, art supplies or by writing. In adulthood, I dealt with it by running away from it and the people who perpetrated it.

So when this subject was continually brought up by my father, I would listen for long periods of time, shrug my shoulders and say, "I guess some people are just bad and don't care." In other words, I didn't think to study it. All I knew was that I didn't want bullying in his life, or in my life.

The last few years of his life, I began to resent his insistence on returning to this subject. I don't know why I had such little tolerance for it other than it disturbed me that he hadn't found a way to work it through his system all the years, but I see now, that it was an unresolved, not-understood issue in his mind, all the way up to and through his death. In a way he was looking to me to absolve him of this terrible burden. "Oh, but Dood, I love you. You're the apple of my eye," I'd say, hoping that would ease his pain.

I think it is so clear to me now why being bullied was such a festering wound: no tools, so ill prepared, the arrows went right to his heart and he didn't know how to block it, other arrows went to his head and he didn't know how to block it there either. There was very little understanding of why people indulge in this activity when it is so unpleasant and hurtful to other people (I don't think he ever felt a lack of conscience, so he couldn't understand why other people weren't haunted by their actions).

I don't think lessons ever stop because a person dies. I was with him when he died, so in a way, I felt that the lesson simply jumped over to me and continued within my life. And oh boy, did it ever!

The one thing that I did differently was to try to understand it at every angle through research and talking to thousands of people (yes, thousands). Every time I would discover something, I'd say, "Are you listening Dood? Did you just hear what I heard? It has absolutely nothing to do with you."

I have had many vivid dreams of my father on this journey with me. Even though he has passed away, I feel it is a discovery for both of us and I'm working so hard to uncover what it all means in his honor. This is one of the reasons I am making illustrations on the subject, why I wrote this blog post on family scapegoating and why I ended up writing an entire blog on the subject. I could make art in his honor 'til kingdom come (and my art and studio are very much linked to my father), but resolving the bullying issue, even if it never gets resolved with the bullies themselves (and becomes only a contribution to society) is what I seem to be living for, for both of us.

My father, as soon as he was an adult, became part of the force of pushing back one of the most notorious bullies and sociopath narcissists of all time: Adolf Hitler in World War II. He lost his entire unit and almost lost his life. Going from a serene polite childhood surrounded by honest people of integrity to an all-out assault kind of war with inadequate equipment (no winter coats or boots, very few reinforcements, sleeping on the ground in winter), had to be incredibly traumatizing for him. I can't under-estimate the trauma that it caused.    

In civic and personal life, bullies were even more perplexing, i.e., "why does this have to go on in peace-time as well?"

Bullies can't see you for who you really are (the divine self, agape love); they only see you in terms of what they can or cannot control. You live or die in their hearts based on that. They see you only as an extension of their wants and needs and you can be demoted and discarded at any time for not feeding it. They have an intuitive sense of your vulnerabilities (where they can play on your shame and self esteem, and even where you'll get sucked in by pronouncements of love) but beyond that, they can't see a thing. They are pure manipulators, always trying to get a talon into you or punish you if you get too far out, always trying to get you to think about them, even if they have to use fear to do it.

War is probably not much different: a soldier's divine self is probably rarely considered and, at any rate, much like the uniform where one soldier looks like another, not about a person (their individuality), but only about their fitness, their resources, their abilities and how they can be manipulated and controlled to bring about an outcome. My father described the war as "deeply impersonal" (his quotes). In other words, who knows who you're firing at between the trees: saints? an only son? a father of a sick boy and a deceased mother? What horror!

So he never wanted to be put in a position like that again and was determined to live in peace ... except: bullies found him! And rattled him to his core!

The thing is, my father died in peace, with a clear conscience. You have to have incredible courage to go through the dying experience. He died with unresolved issues, but no regrets. Both he and I have had near death experiences (that is, before he died). We knew that near death experiences could make regrets loom huge over your consciousness and practically take over. In fact, regrets can be like demons (yes, you hallucinate, and no, you don't have control over them -- the regrets are in your face all of the time, totally terrifying, haunting). Many therapists say that this is when people who have been sleeping through life with their egos on begin to wake up. If you have near-death experiences, you begin to want to clear your conscience sooner before the BIG D. When you are in the throes of experiencing pain, you do not want to cause pain to others, and the memories of the pain can linger, meaning that you won't hurt people long after the experience either.

People always have a chance to wake up at any time and do the right thing, but for some reason, bullies usually run away from doing the right thing. They leave behind the good people. Honest people don't think about their egos; they think about intimacy. Life always challenges us: we can either take on more regrets or lessen the regrets we already have.  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Camp Seaforth in the Virgin Islands

Lise Winne writing the post today.

My understanding of my father's role in Camp Seaforth in the Virgin Islands is that he designed some buildings for it, accompanied on his trips to the location by Ken Webb, starting somewhere around 1969.

The Beach area where the camp was located was full of manchineel apple trees -- "quite poisonous, with acidic sap that could burn one’s skin" (quote by Rick Hausman).

Rick Hausman recalls setting up the camp:
"I went alone to Virgin Gorda via Puerto Rico. In P.R., I bought tents, dishware, cookware, and related supplies to outfit the camp. Meanwhile, back at the office, we were recruiting campers and staff."

He had a few other words to say:
"... you’ll hear wondrous tales of evacuations and near-miss hurricanes, a tiny sunfish sailboat with a single camper spotted just before he disappeared around the end of the island into the Atlantic current, the days when there was no motor boat to ferry water and supplies. I believe a sometimes-functional walkie-talkie was the only means of communication with the outside world. If the ACA only knew…"

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Celebration of His Life Today

It was 4 years ago today that my father, Robert F. Winne, passed away. 

I found this lovely picture of him in the computer today. I think this captures his essence: innocent, sweet, ingratiating, evolved, thoughtful. Most of all, he was super-lovable and an ultra-empath, something the world always needs more of (and which I am seeking in my own life -- to be, and to be around).

I think about him every day, and particularly when I am in my studio (which happens to be almost all day long these days). He inspires me in my art, in my life, and in the last conversation I had with him: "Don't be docile" ... "You are meant to do something for the world" ... I hope I am fulfilling his dream of me in the moments in the studio as I draw and paint on his tables.


Here is the unadulterated photo of him (without the border). Love you, Dood, and for all eternity: