It’s a Wonderful Life

By: Jane Weinke, curator of collections/registrar on February 3rd, 2010

Is anyone really comfortable with photos of themselves? I don’t mean the beautiful fashion model, airbrushed creations, or even proper portraits, but specifically the impromptu, or even somewhat choreographed, snapshots.

During the past thirty years, my photo has been taken many times to promote the Museum and its exhibitions. My mother, when she was alive, kept a scrapbook of these images—boy, what a historical survey, featuring ever-changing hair and clothing styles and even body sizes. Yikes.

The Wausau Daily Herald recently chose me as one of three “Women to Know” in the February You supplement. I was concerned about being photographed for the article, and many of the questions asked for background information in the accompanying text caused me to pause.

While some of the questions/answers, like “In my fridge I always have—Diet Coke” or “When I’m not at the Woodson, you can find me—in the kitchen baking,” were no-brainers, the two that took me the longest to answer were eye-openers.

The first: “If I could have a do-over, I would_____.” It was difficult to think of one event or misstep in my life that did not serve a valuable lesson or result in making me a better person. Instead, I thought about what would make a difference in my life today. My conclusion, life at the Woodson would be easier if I had an art history degree, and a written and oral command of at least one foreign language. Both of which could be remedied at anytime, hence not requiring a “do-over.”

The second: “For one day, I would love to trade places with____.” I deeply admire many people who have influenced my life, but, for many reasons, I harbor no desire to change places with any of them. My life has been rich with family, friends, art, travel, etc. I cannot imagine what could be better.

Yet, it is fun to dream so New York, specifically Manhattan, comes to mind. The never-ending action and access to art, theater, and incredible restaurants are enticing. With that in mind, it isn’t a big leap to a long-time friend who is a fine art gallery owner. Since we first met by phone nearly ten years ago, she has shared the ups and downs of living and working in the “city that never sleeps.” I admit to a nagging curiosity to see what life is like in her shoes.

All this pondering makes me want to bake a chocolate chip cookie, grab a Diet Coke, and phone my New York friend and have a chat, all the while relishing the great life I have at the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. Thank you, Keith Uhlig and the Wausau Daily Herald, for reminding me how great my life is—even if there is a photograph involved!

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