My new logo is taken from the above I have created: a nonsense bird, born decades ago from the mind of my grandfather Robert, or “Bob” to almost everyone. Bob, who was born here in Oregon, and my grandmother, Mary, who hailed from Wisconsin, met in Washington, D.C. in their twenties. Each lived in their own respective apartments with several roommates, just across the hallway from one another.
When they were dating and Mary was about to visit the West coast for the first time in her life to meet Bob’s family, he told her tall tales about the strange and fantastic wildlife that lives exclusively out West. The Filamaloo bird, which I have drawn to use as my logo, was one of these animals. The Filamaloo bird, explained Bob, flies backwards, “Because it doesn’t care where it’s going - only where it’s been.”
In retrospect, as I write this, the bird would seem like a strange sort of foreshadowing. Since midway through last year, my grandfather has lived in a memory care facility because of his severe dementia from Alzheimer’s and needs help and supervision to be safe and to get through his day successfully. He sleeps a great deal and is often exhausted, confused, and mentally cloudy. He doesn’t know where he is going, but can remember bits and pieces from years ago of where he has been, so much like the bird, he is immersed in the past. He remembers he was born in Eugene, that he used to go hunting with his brothers, that he had a beautiful wife named Mary. He vaguely remembers me as a wide-eyed small child and not the mid-twenty-something who comes to visit. He clings to what he knows when he remembers how, and most of the time, happily obliges with suggestions as to where he is going.
I chose to illustrate the Filamaloo bird not only to honor my Grandfather’s uniquely inventive mind when it was at its best, but to serve as a beautiful image and a self-reminder. I don’t want to live blissfully uninterested with the future. Instead I want to to live always keeping the past in mind as a tool for perspective and self-reflection.