In honor of National Holocaust Remembrance Day last Friday I began to tell a two part story about a brave little girl Gnome (Gnomette), named Jilly who lived during the dark times of the Holocaust. Today, Part 2 concludes the story.
The Story of Jilly Gnomette
The village was in an uproar and people were divided in their thinking. Mrs. Dutschke bolted the doors of her post office/ general store and refused to open them after the Swastika was torn from the pole. She could be heard crying behind her closed door, great sobs of fear and rejection.
Dr. Weinberg and his wife had been taken away by the authorities for questioning! They were non-practicing Jewish German people with long ancestral roots in the area. No one had even thought about their being Jewish, yet suddenly they were grabbed and roughly removed. The village had been warned that they were harboring enemies of the State and there may be reprisals, especially if there were more “undesirables” that had not been brought to the authority’s attention.
Most people were horrified, but behind closed doors. Some like the lad who had pulled down the flag were open in their condemnation of a regime with such profiling, but there were a couple of families who saluted the removal of those Jews.
One family was terrified and uncertain what to do, just like Mrs. Dutschke, for they were hiding a little girl. The doctor’s daughter, Sarah had been at their house when the parents were taken and because news flies like fire through a village they had created a game in the cellars for the children to play, until after the trucks were gone. They had told Sarah her parents were suddenly called away…but what now to do! They could not keep the child; it was a threat to them all…what was to be done!
There were a couple of other folk in danger as well. One was an older man; Helmut was his name…harmless and gentle. The village boys were used to follow down the street behind him, teasing and laughing at his odd clothes and walk. It was seemingly harmless and did not seem to worry Helmut who limped along with his vacant smile but there was still a hidden and thoughtless cruelty behind such behavior. Would someone feel it their duty to report poor Helmut as an undesirable citizen?
Then there was Gertie…a child with obvious mental and physical problems, children like her were disappearing from all over the country. No one knew exactly what was wrong with Gertie, she was born with one arm shorter than the other was, and she was very deaf and struggled to learn at school. Could she also be taken?
There had always been a village member or two like Gertie and Helmut, they may be teased but the village had always cared for them as a matter of course. Suddenly they were a threat to everyone. They had to be reported to the authorities unless they could somehow disappear.
It was time to call a meeting.
Jilly heard a knock on her door and jumped with surprise. No one had been near for quite some time and she had lost track of the World as one does when they live comfortably with their own company. The hour or the day becomes less important if one is busily occupied and Jilly was always busy.
She opened the window and leaned down to see who was at her door…it was two of the women from the village and they had children and that dear creature Helmut with them. How strange, well she knew Helmut well. He often brought her wood and a little coal or peat. He would stack it in her cave at the back of her house. Helmut was about the only other person who knew about her cave. The children puzzled her though, two little girls and both of them carrying a small bag.
Jilly waved her duster to catch the women’s attention and made a sign that she would come straight down. She would offer them a glass of lemonade and a pastry in her garden…most people found her house very small, her furniture more comfortable for a child.
The women did not want to stay though; they pushed the little girls towards her.
“There was a meeting. The Village cannot keep these people, it just is not safe, and so while they were still arguing we snuck away and brought these three to you. Someone will bring food and leave it at your gate, please; you mustn’t come to the Village, ever.”
Jilly stood her arms around the waists of the little girls who were crying now and watched in astonishment as the women scuttled away. It was the oddest scene that she had witnessed for many, many years.
Helmut gave her a clue….”They came and took Sarah’s Mum and Dad and the Village is all upset. Some are glad Mr. and Mrs. Weisberg are gone but most people are sad they have lost the Dr. and are scared about almost everything. They say that we three are undes…undesirables…we can’t stay and be safe.”
Jilly saw that hate and prejudice had returned to the Kingdom…er no… It was the Fatherland now and she and the three that had been thrust at her were no longer safe in their own land… yet again.
She took them through her little house into the cave behind where she knew that they would be safe so long as the Woods remained. All those quilts that she had been sewing over the years were stacked in one corner and she and Helmut made warm, and cozy beds with them on the rag rug- mat that covered floor. Two in one corner…another for Helmut to the back where strings of onions, dried herbs and smoked bacon and fish hung.
Jilly fussed about, opening a box and handing each little girl a knitted doll to cuddle, she found a mirror, combs, brushes, and colored ribbons for their hair. Over turning the now empty box, Jilly suddenly, almost magically transformed it into a dresser when she sat it on top of a set of drawers that somehow appeared from somewhere.
The children could empty their little bags into the draws…there would be plenty of room for both and everyone was accommodated.
Over the next years while the World ripped itself apart and millions upon millions of people died, Jilly Gnomette with the help of a simple old man cared for those two unwelcome, unwanted little girls. Every week a basket of food was left at the gate along with a list that Jilly had left of other things that they would need. Books for Sarah to read, always books for every evening as they sat around the fire, Jilly would sew and Sarah would read to them all. Gertie’s hearing had improved, she had terrible infections in her ears when she first arrived and Jilly’s potions had cured them. She could hear enough to enjoy the story if she sat close to Sarah, she had learned to talk and knew her letters and numbers.
There was sadness sometimes, fear even when big planes flew low over the Woods or far off booming could be heard, but the madness and evil stayed away from their secret spot. The little girls grew up safe in Jilly’s Woods, Loved and protected always by a funny little Gnomette and a simple old man.
Our first comment this week comes from Rick Rice who, after just one year is now seeing the disappointing yellowing affect BLO has on his carving.
“Rick Rice here, I enjoyed part one of Jilly. I have switched to walnut oil completely per your recommendation. This is a carving I did last year with Dewayne Gosnell . I put blo on it and didn’t get around to painting it. I hope you can see in this picture anywhere there is end grain it is very yellow . I don’t think it is a total loss but should have been painted a long time ago.
As for mineral oil I find it a little to oily for me. Again Thank You for what you do for the carving community!!”
Rick, your carving, which is excellent by the way, is another perfect example of why you should not use BLO on your wood carvings. I’ve said it so many times before but I’ll say it again…BLO yellows and darkens over time and will have that same affect on your carvings. Your carving is just one year old and already you can see the yellowing affect of using BLO on it.
I don’t think all is lost in this case. Most of the yellowing appears to be on the heat and shoes, both of which you can paint a little heavier to try to cover the darkening affect. As time goes on, however, the problem will likely get worse and you may see further changes in the color of the carving.
I’m glad to hear you switched off to Walnut Oil. You will be glad you did. Although it’s a better choice than BLO I also feel that Mineral Oil has a thick and oily feel to it and doesn’t soak into the wood like Walnut Oil does.
For what it’s worth. after painting your carving I suggest a coat of Krylon Matte Acrylic spray, then a coat of Howard FEED N’WAX. Either way, I hope you will show us your carving after it’s completed.
Rick Rice has also kindly sent in some invaluable diagrams on the correct measurements of the human head as a follow up on the topic of human proportions we discussed a couple of weeks ago.
This is fantastic information, Rick! Do you own this book? What is the title of the book and author’s name. I would like to look it up.
Thank you so much for sharing this. We need more contributors like you to keep Wood Chip Chatter dynamic and informative!
“Carver’s Corner” is the section where you can send in photos of your carvings to have them critiqued by me and get my truthful opinions on what you did right and where you might improve next time. It’s an excellent opportunity to improve your carving skills! Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
This week we have a Carvers’ Corner entry of a Barbershop Quartet carved by Mike Dize. Mike writes:
“Hi. Thanks for your emails. Here’s carving that could use some critiques. Mike”
This is a very unique carving, Mike. I like the creativity and design. There are a few things, though that you could change or add if you want to give the carving a little more character next time. Try adding smile lines to the faces, and add some creases to the bow ties. Smile lines are creases in the face that run from the upper, outer corners of the nostrils down along both sides of the mouth. You can also make the fingers look more realistic looking by adding fingernails and two or three small creases (V-cuts) at each of the knuckles. In general, try going lighter with the paint next time by diluting your paints with water more, and also add some color to the skin tone by adding very light washes of red, especially to the nose, lips and cheek areas.
“Photo Shop” is the section of Wood Chip Chatter where carvers can send in photos of their wood carvings for display. It’s your chance to show off your work…sort of a show and tell. The photos will only be displayed and no comments or critiques will be made. For critiques on your carvings send them in to the “Carver’s Corner.” Send your photos to email@example.com. Thanks!
The first photos we have this week come from Bill Brunner who carved these magnificent lighthouses from cottonwood bark. The lighthouses even light up!
Terrific carving, Bill! A perfect combination of carved and un-carved sections, and I like the way it lights up!
Our next photos come from Mike Dize who carving a terrific diorama of a group of musicians. Mike writes:
“Hi. Thanks for your emails. Here’s a picture of a group of musicians I’m working on.”
The International Association of Woodcarvers has upcoming Zoom meetings on the following Saturdays at 3PM EST with special guest presenters. Check them out…
2/5 – Jim Hiser
2/12 – Tom Wilkinson
2/19 – Kevin Applegate
2/26 – Dave Francis
3/5 – Rich Schneider
3/12 – Roger Beane
4/9 – Joe You
4/16 – Chris Hammack
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOODCARVERS
COME JOIN US!!!
WOOD CHIP CHATTER NEEDS YOUR PHOTOS!!!
I’m sure you all have some terrific carvings to share in my “Photo Shop” section. Photos of your carvings help to liven up the blog’s appearance and make it more interesting. Also, my “Carver’s Corner” is a great way to get constructive critiques on your carvings so you can learn where to improve on your next ones. When sending in photos please specify whether you want them for display in “Photo Shop” or if you want me to critique them in the “Carver’s Corner.” Send your photos in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
KEEP THE CHIPS FLYING!!!
Send in your questions and comments so we can keep Wood Chip Chatter active and keep the conversations going! Effective discussions are one of the best ways to learn about the topics that interest you. Remember, there’s no such thing as a dumb question. Plus we would all love to learn about the unique tips, techniques and products YOU use in your woodcarving process. Send your questions and comments to email@example.com. Thanks!
Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!