Our Stories: 13 Rita Zellman

Rita final

Rita and I met online in 2013 through the facebook group “I Remember New Britain” as a lot of my creative work was focusing on the New Britain area at that time.  I remember one story that I wrote about a trip to New Britain with the children that I posted in The Crayon Diary particularly interested her as she has fond memories of New Britain.

So for “Our Stories” I considered drawing a picture of New Britain. I’ve created artwork in the past which she has enjoyed and now owns of New Britain…but as I considered this project, I considered Rita and what I think she would like most of all for the “Our Stories” project.

Rita loves New Britain memories but doesn’t live in New Britain; she and her husband Bill moved to New Jersey or as she says “he moved me near the sea!” It is Bill. It is her grandchildren. It is her family that she cherishes. Now I considered drawing a scene in Windsor Locks, Bill and Rita met in Windsor Locks in 1976, but ultimately I decided if I wanted to represent their story in one piece of artwork I wouldn’t set it there. I can tell military service is honored by this family, and faith and family are integral facets of their lives. There were so many ways to go with this artistic portrait.

I thought about the beach and I think the water is something very special for them. So I wanted to show their story by showing Bill and Rita looking out to the water in New Jersey.

I found a lighthouse in New Jersey, the only lighthouse in a profile pic on Rita’s facebook-of Barnegat Lighthouse. Initially I drew the lighthouse and realized it was at the wrong perspective so I scrapped that one. I then drew the lighthouse so that there was enough room for the ocean and the sky. I wanted to do something special there too…

Rita and Bill enjoy 21 grandchildren! So I added 4 boats and 17 seagulls to represent the 21 grandchildren.

I hid the #13 *(this is the 13th post for Our Stories) in the rocks.

Rita and Bill will celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary this year.

I am very happy that I know Rita and Bill through online connections and I’m very happy to share the story of Rita and Bill with all of you!


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