• Kim Van Sandt

Summer Learning Experience III - The People

Hopefully you've enjoyed my summery-summary posts, here is the third installment...


In South Haven besides arts & crafts there were pirates to look at too!

- It’s not all about the potties (hopefully you read my previous post or that won’t make ANY sense at all), summer brought fun people watching too, maybe even enthralling. I always marvel at those people who wear bright beautiful summer-white dresses, shorts, pants, etc. Me – I can’t even get out of the house without a big dog-slobber-goober across my butt most days – white is sooo far out of the question for me.

- Also amazing, is the strength of spandex. Summer people-watching reveals spandex stretched far beyond reasonable expectation. Please be kind to spandex. But mostly, there are pretty florals, summer dresses, flowy blouses, lots of pretty things to admire all around.

- People watching goes beyond regular clothes. At the really ‘artsy’ festivals you see more costumes. I mean like real costumes, Wonder Woman, a Power Ranger, and Robin (as in, Batman and). I do have a question, though… should Robin have been wearing tights? It was the old 60’s version of Robin and I was trying to remember if he should have had tights with the speedo-type bottoms?

- Some of the artsy outfits only border on costume, or at least I am not sure if they were intended to be costume or just extreme fashion? There were the Scottish kilts, and them some other men in skirts (not trans, just regular guys in some sort of skirt). There was blue hair, big hair, and the how-do-you-rock-a-hairstyle-like-that-all-day hairstyles. And when my friend is with me, we occasionally see those people who you look at, then look at each other with that OMG face, then pretend like you saw nothing out of the ordinary. (And you hope no one is doing that about you.)

- If you have opportunity, go to a Mermaid Festival. By all means, go. I saw some of the prettiest people with crowns of shells, mermaid hair, clam shell bras, mermaid tails, shimmery leggings, little girls dressed all sparkly and adorable. Maybe my favorite were the 6 or 8 friends with the shimmery mermaid leggings paired with long black T-shirts that had cartoonish clamshell bras on them. I think that is the only way I could see myself dressing up for a mermaid festival. If you go, do be prepared as you will likely discover that out of water, mermaids age much like regular humans.

- Kids make things fun, most of the time. There was one little girl who, upon hearing my spiel about my artwork being made from what I’ve found on the beach, she looked all around the booth and exclaimed, “WOW! You’re a good FINDER!”

- There was the 10 yr old boy who wanted to know exactly which kind of glue I used to secure rocks and fossils to a piece of driftwood artwork. I was really happy to tell him, since I used 3 different adhesive products since it made it seem far more dramatic. And I love to share info with the inquisitive kids like him.

- I noticed in my people watching, a funny little trend. I think I would call it the “husband-face”. You could only catch it in that unguarded moment when he first realizes she found a booth that is going to cost him. Cost him in either time or money! They usually tried to quickly wipe it away, and be happy about hanging out together, but if you were watching you could catch that

brief “Oh no!” look. With some it may have been more dramatic, less “Oh no,” and more “oh (expletive)? But the fun part was after the eye-roll they usually tucked it away and returned to a happy togetherness kind of facial expression.

- I found that a day at a fair is always nicer if you have a nice neighbor. I guess that applies to life in general too. But it is extra sweet if your neighbor asks, “Do you need a break? Have you eaten? I can keep an eye on things.” Sweetness. And I have found that my vendor neighbors seem like they are always nice and helpful. It’s like you are co-workers from different departments, for a day or two, but you don’t have to spend enough time together to get to the negatives about each other.

- Some organizers also go the extra mile too! Gypsy Soul Vintage Market offered porters to help load or unload. Rustic Peddler Market sent staff around to keep an eye out for the vendors so they could run out for food and potty breaks, AND they provided DONUTS! And thank you to the others who had a cell number you could call for a potty-run booth-sitter.

- Strangers can be really kind. After a rainy day in South Haven, I was exhausted and at the point of taking down my canopy in the dark when a group of friends on their way to listen to the festival band came by and asked if I needed help, and before waiting for an answer they stepped in and insisted. So cool. Thank you, strangers, I hope you had a fun evening, you definitely made quick work of a hard task, at the end of a rainy day and were much appreciated. Others have also offered to help lots of times, but usually I have things under control or have a helper, only needing help once in a while.

- I learned that It is hard to create artwork when people very much like, or even love your ideas but are also creative themselves. It is difficult in a couple ways, partly because some of them are trying to be slick about taking pics to copy you, others will ask, some won’t, all at various levels of couth and uncouth. And then, I try to remind myself that the source of my ideas are also, at times, not so original maybe prompted by others, and I then I try to be kind…. At least I “try” to. Probably my favorite, or maybe my least favorite, is the grandma who says to her 4 year old grandson, “See Honey, you could make things just like this with your rocks!”

- It’s not all about the potties (hopefully you read my previous post or that won’t make ANY sense at all), summer brought fun people watching too, maybe even enthralling. I always marvel at those people who wear bright beautiful summer-white dresses, shorts, pants, etc. Me – I can’t even get out of the house without a big dog-slobber-goober across my butt most days – white is sooo far out of the question for me. eople-ness of the summer was that it put this avowed introvert into a place where she ‘extroverts’ all over the place. Okay, I’m still a little shy, but I love the comfort of the conversations about my favorite things – beach things!

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