• Jennifer Jackman White

First memories of being an artist

In 1984 I lived in a suburb north of Los Angeles with my mom in a pink apartment. I was 3 years old. On Sunday mornings we'd roll out of bed, get dressed, haphazardly brush my hair and buckle up into my mom's car to drive to my Grandparent's house for breakfast at the Grinder (a diner near LAX). I'd usually drift back to sleep only to wake 30 minutes later as my mom pulled into their driveway. When I visited my Grandparent's house, I would follow the same routine: First, I'd find the doves nesting in their hanging ferns on the front porch, then run through the house to the kitchen to open a drawer that secretly hid a dozen M&Ms in a little plastic cup (they would say left by an elf for every time I came to visit). Finally I would wander into the dusty garage which smelled of oil, leather and sawdust. They would wheel out their bikes with giant fuzzy seats to the driveway, we would put on our helmets, then we would slowly begin our ride down to Sepulveda and Manchester. I remember the smell of Gardenias, salty air and the exhilaration of bouncing over giant peaks of cement in the sidewalk lifted up by the roots of Magnolia trees. Once we arrived we would lock up our bikes out front, enter the warm diner into a thick aroma of coffee and put our name on the list. We would wait. I would look at the Sunday funnies. They would call our name “Davidson party of 4” and we would be led to our table. I remember sliding to the center of the booth, my bare legs sticking to the red vinyl leather glazed with maple syrup, and be handed a kid’s paper menu and crayons. I would flip the menu over to the side that was blank and start drawing flowers and birds. When I ran out of space on the menu, I would start drawing on the white paper napkins, until the stacks of pancakes, bacon and eggs arrived.