CONTRIBUTIONS & DONATIONS
IN MEMORY OF MEL
Dear Family and Friends of Melvin,
I would like to thank everyone who participated in Mel's memorial celebration and everyone who thoughts were there. I can't think of a more perfect way to have celebrated our friend's life.
For those of you who did not know, Mel had been working at the Southwest Senior Center part time teaching art for two years and than as a full-time Program Coordinator for the last five months. I don't think I can adequately express how this was changing his life. The center is located two blocks from where Mel went to high school. He was back near his roots with a job he loved and was having a great time. He had just ordered two potters wheels and a kiln, scheduling trips, movies, speakers, teaching art and shooting a lot of pool with the seniors. Mel was painting and planting life, as only he could.
Having had many conversations with Paulette, the director at the Southwest Senior Center, she expressed some ways for Mel's memory to live on. Mel and Paulette had discussed purchasing a number of framed Monet posters for the large meeting room. They had also started a library. The book cases have been ordered. We are asking folks to drop off books at Hy's office or get in touch with me.
Another way we are asking our friends to remember Mel, is by sending a financial contribution in his memory to purchase art and expand the library to:
By the way, it's tax deductible. I hope we can fill the center with art and books in our friend's name. My warmest regards,
REMEMBERANCES OF MELVIN
Please excuse that some of the posted emails have been addressed to me.
I know that they were meant to be shared with Melvin's family & friends, I was just the easiest vehicle to use, as I had corresponded with the writer and their reply was therefore directed to me in some instances..
My dear friend Melvin died at his kitchen table of a heart attack this morning in Philadelphia.
He had just started doing some E-mail, this is the last line from the one he sent me on Tuesday: " See ya in the forrest. Melvin" He was referring to a petition to save the rain forest that has been passing around. Im enclosing an old photo of Melvin for those who care to look. I hope you all don't mind me using such a public format to assuage my grief.with tears in my eyes and in my heart,
Melvin Goldfield August 6th 1939 to July 16th , 2000
Is his most significant other legacy/contribution: his silkscreens; his watercolors; his sculptures: his paintings; woodcuts; carvings; woodpaintings; treefrogs; locusts/crickets, flowers, naked ladies; erotica; flowers, skulls; In Her The River Sings; Covered bridges, snakes; ropes; crows, turtles; treeroped; foxes; Johnson; Walt Whitman; Rosie and Al; tepees; waterfalls; rainbows; windows; seascapes; dragons; vines; Pan; fire; flame; trees; branches; rivers; birds up; birds down; cartoons...?
Is his most significant other legacy/contribution: laughter; his eyes; his smile ; his consecrations( I meant conversations); his stories; his words ("Junk Yard Dog" - or to me directly: "You have a WILL to EAT!" ; and at a time when I was suddenly feeling alone and very sorry for myself: a big hug and these words:
"Everyone needs someone to hug them or pat them on the back" as he gave me a big needed hug; then he showed me how to start rebuilding my life by beginning to rebuild the stonewall that had collapsed outside and above my front window - starting by marking off the work area with kite sticks and kite string and starting to replace the stones, one stone at a time... "etc, etc, & so forth..."); his friendship; memories; fun; mischief; his gardens; his poetry read & written; his home; his dome, his library, his friends, his woes ( they were the best woes, the hardest woes, - the blues for sure )...
Much is a blur from the early seventies but I vividly recall Melvin coming by and often dragging me off for last call at Flowing Springs. We'd play pool, chase the girls, drink too much, get in trouble, ended up where we shouldn't have been, stayed up all night and shared too many sunrises.
On hot summer days we spent many hours floating on tubes pondering Russian philosopher Ospensky's theorem stating we live in a seven dimensional universe--TIME itself has 3 additional dimensions, direction [forward], duration [length] and velocity [fast, slow or somewhere in-between]. We formulated some addition dimensions. We would vigorously debate i-Ching, astrology, Buddhism, Zen and Cayce. We deduced that plants are indeed a higher life form. We resolved crucial controversies of our own time. We challenged one another intellectually and Melvin taught me much.
On June 06, 1976 Melvin introduced me to my future wife ( now of 22 years) at his exhibit at Hy's Art Gallery/ Law offices.
We sadly lost touch for many years but recently our paths crossed and for that I am thankful. Valuable memories with a valued friend, a mixture of pain and laughter, an incredibly wonderful person, unforgettable times, highlighted by sorrow, pride, great joy and deep loss.
Poem for Melvin by Ziggy
If there is a reincarnation, and we can't remember who we were, we will recognize familiar souls by looking into each other's eyes.
If there is a paradise up above, he will be there to greet me upon my arrival.
And if there is nothing at all, one thing is for certain:
As long as I am breathing, he's alive inside my heart.
I Loved Melvin he was my husband ...hours and hours of conversation about life and its tolls,he was alaways there for me, alaways i could tell him anything..
I want to thank you for putting him into my life, alot of people did not understand what it takes to survive and to try to create when your worried about your morgtage and food..
I can only imagine what mel was capable of it he would have had no pain in his body and no worries of bills......I cant imagine life without him, and our midnight calls to see if we were still surviving..
I miss him already, I thank you for being so supportive in his works and efforts ....
Hank, Ellliott , and Eric were talking tonight and after the memorial at painted bride we would like to do something at the dome sight, I saw the old chime that used to be at the dome and If its alright with Shima we would like to erect it on a boulder at the dome in honor of Mel and Eric and Hank asked me to see if it was ok,cause theyre busy with trying to put together a retrospect of mel work for the painted bride ceremony, i of course said i am sure Hy would love it,
God i am going to miss him .. talk to ya in the morning
Thank you ever so much for phoning me, to personally give me the sad news of Melvin's death. I am still in shock and filled with a mix of emotions and memories.....
I have kept his picture at hand over the past few years. When things would get tough I would look at it, just to remember what it feels like to be really loved and protected by a compassionate, beautiful human being.
You must feel "gutted" as men say over here...he has been one of your best buddies for years. I will phone you at the weekend to talk some more. It was so good to speak to you last night after all these years. That is a really strange story about the picture of me and Mel. I have thought of that day more than once...it was one of the happiest days of my life.
If its not too much trouble could you e-mail me about where I can send flowers..if there is going to be a ceremony...and also if you could send me Shima's address I would like to write to her.
Here is my little tribute. See if this can get posted on the Web Site or somewhere. Please try to keep the paragraphs separated as I have indecated:
I'm a musician. A Fiddler by trade. Full time now. I met Melvin through Hy Mayerson, some time back in 1976. I was 24 years old. I wanted to get away from my Parents. I had no job, had just left a Band I hated, felt burned out from trying to be something I was not, failing, and moving back in with Mom & Dad. I ended up living in the basement of Hy's law office on Rt. 724. At night, the office was my living room. I'd listen to or play music surrounded by Melvens art. This one large painting in particular, a Goat on some Rocks and a bright light. I'm a Capricorn, born in Dec. Melven started to drop in to see me about every two weeks. I didn't have a car, so he would pick me up and we'd go do our laundry together. Share the wash for a quater. Melvin used to sit on a washing machine and read me poetry while we were waiting for our clothes to dry. He'd read me Walt Whitman and Keroac, and other things, but mostly Walt Whitman. I kind of lost touch with Melvin after he moved back to Center City, but, I find myself now 24 years later, playing music on a fairly regular basis, at the famous Bitter End in Greenwich Village, backing up Beat Poets. Thank you Melvin for turning on a young mind to poetry, and the soul of an artist.
Ted The Fiddler
My condolences to all of you. Although I have not seen Melvin in many years, I remember him as a kind and loving human being. He always had a smile for me. He never had any hatred in his heart. We can all learn from him. As long as we are kind to one and other, Melvin's spirit will be alive and well for all eternity. Peace and Love to all of you,
Christopher Carroll :-)
Dear Sheema, friends and family,
My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Since the saddest news of our dear, dear friend Melvin's passing, many feelings fill me up and run me over.
Melvin was the artist and the art all at once. He was Bigger than life, as most of us know it, kinder, smarter and better than the best of us.
I loved and admired Melvin from the minute our eyes met on the driveway by the back of the old Chevy pick-up truck piled high with fresh vegetables and dirty old tires in Lyndell, Pennsylvania, 1971. Back then, he taught Jim about Junk Yard Dogs, street life, and survivial and through the years all of us got to enjoy their collaboration and friendship through their enduring songs, stories and art.
A kindred spirit, he was one of the best friends Jim Croce, A.J. and I ever had, and one of the few friends Jimmy Rock and I share. Our Jewish origin back in South Phiadelphia, our personal thirty odd year history, and all the meals, music and pictures that pass before me now are such a small part of the pleasure I enjoyed by Melvin's presence.
And yet, Melvin burned so bright, so steady, so strong, so tender, so purely Melvin, that his afterglow will never go out. Melvin was the real thing, and that's the rarest and dearest gift he gave was himself.
Melvin was my brother, my teacher, my very special, special friend.
I loved Melvin more than he ever knew, more than I ever knew. The privilege of loving Melvin is a genuine pleasure.
"I could drink a case of you" my friend. And today I will.
My Deepest Sentiments and Condolences,
May Melvin's Beauty, Love, laughter and Spirit carry him far as we hold him in our Hearts.
Peace and love, Peggy
I was first introduced to the concept of community when I went to Chester Springs/ Birchrunville in and around 1971. I first stayed at Frank Foley's art workshop in my van in the back yard. I later stayed in Hy's back yard.
I was most impressed by Melvin's unbounding energy with the dome project down by the creek. He seemed to be like an old wise man, even though he was only 10 years older than me.
I especially remember the "Tree Frog" Series. (I have a tree frog hatching ground in my back yard in an old jacussi) Over the years I have watched the tree frogs thriving and have thought of Melvin many times, actually, every time I see a tree frog I see the names of people I knew 30 years ago and it is like it was yesterday.
Thank you my old friends and thank you Melvin for your vision
Love Nick Tighe (firstname.lastname@example.org)
the other day the wind for my sails stopped.................a still entered my life a void....my heart stopped beating to a drum....the song of birds had deadened...the flow of air ceased around me.....the truth was not a welcome friend....i wanted to be lied to ..I didnt want the truth....why ,the age old question why? ..i left my house and went to where the essence of mel was still present ( not looking to my heart ) but to where i was in hopes of finding this all to be a cruel joke.. and there sat the faces of men who shared the same sense of unreal...the tears flowed like waterfalls and then the interruptions of laughter and memories and mels spirit re entered with every breath he was everywhere once again...thankyou henry,elliott,eric,and shima ( for sharing your dad) and to hy for introducing me to what will alaways be the biggest ray of my life and soul i love you all debra
My condolences go out to Melvin's family and friends too. Though I didn't know him well, I knew him enough to know he was a gentle and kind soul - a good friend to my friend Sal thru good times and bad, and a friend to everyone who met him.
He gave me what I consider to be 2 of my most prized possessions. A photograph that he took of Jim, sitting at his kitchen table, and a handwritten verse that Jim had written out when he was trying to teach Melvin to play guitar. I could never get over his generosity in giving me those precious keepsakes.
I can picture Melvin back together with Jim again - looking out for those Junkyard Dogs up there! And maybe Melvin will learn a few more guitar chords too. Bless them all, Margaret
|The dome experiement
was not a total disaster.
The circle remians unborken, we step into and out of it all the time, physical structures collapse and geography changes, but not with the world wide web; those who live in such close proximity remain as a community...
The Shack on French Creek Road contained two beautiful stained glass church windows that Melvin and ( I think) Ron dropped off out of the blue one day....they had saved them from the wrecking ball somewhere in the city and they were intended ultimately for the dome, I think. But alas, stuff happens, and they never were incorporated. Instead, I enjoyed their presence in the shack for almost 15 years, during some times of total contentment and other times of total despair. When I moved, I asked Mel if he wanted them back for his Pughtown studio, but he said he rather thought they should stay with the shack- in that environment. Amongst the many beautiful images on the windows was the inscription " and in their hearts they had no guile"---thank you, Mel
A contemporary, an artist, a kind man and a teacher is gone. You were so generous with me when I needed help teaching high school kids to silk screen. I would meet you at your studio and you would teach me everything I could absorb.
A patient teacher, were you. I passed your "ticks of the trade" on to many kids. I know you liked that idea. Thanks for sharing.
Gail Jacobson, Patagonia, Arizona, July 2000
I scanned this image in because I heard you were doing a web site dedicated
to Mel. This is the piece of art in the video you saw him give to me when I
was a baby. I never knew Mel, but he must of been an extraordinary man to
have done something like this for a little baby. I think this should go on
the web site as one of the many things that show his kindness and
creativity. Love you and talk to you later.
| Hello Hi,
I recently received a note and a few photographs from Mark Fishtein.
The most compelling - to my way of thinking - was taken from a vantage point
upon the deckwork of the dome as triangular framework rose up around the
visionary, the artist, the smiling Melvin. Just enough of the structure can
be seen in the photo to suggest its full contours and what, in turn, must
surely have inspired that creative builder to smile as he did...and does now
only in pictures: captured by a camera or an imagination. Some things last
longer than others. And while our works may long outlive our earthly years,
I suspect it's the dreams we've shared that come closest to never really
dying. We seem to pass them on, from one to the other - from stranger to
stranger, from lover to lover, from generation to generation - and very
often without ever trying.
Last spring when I talked with him, Melvin spoke of his academic years,
and printmaking specifically. This is the second semester I've toyed with
that same medium. There's a lot I might have learned from him. So it's not
surprising to me that images of Melvin and the dome now intrigue me. There
is something in these of a monumental nature, and I am want to explore them
in terms of a print, or prints: perhaps repetitions of images. Do you have
images to share? What are your thoughts?
To Colleen, the kids and what remains of the circle, my greetings and
well wishes. And since I don't have her email address, my thanks again to
Colleen for the invitation to stay over after the Memorial at the Painted
Bride. I appreciate the gesture of hospitality. One day, I hope I'm in a
position to reciprocate.
at the open grave
mingled with the rabbi's prayer
a lone train whistle
Little did i know it was to be our last dance..... that balmy june
evening we celebrated life and growing older together. We drank champagne
and toasted, we got toasted, we listened to the bamboo grow in your back
yard. I took your picture, you mugged in my hat for the camera. We
previewed the results and didn't like them
- now i guess they'll have to do. "Let's eat!"... go to the bar , drink
some, eat some, talk somemore. "OK, now what? "Let's go see nate" you
say. So, off we go to Bob and Barbara's. Nice crowd... we find two stools
in the back by the band. The band is in a groove and so are we. The
chanteuse sits with us, we buy her a drink, her old man buys us a drink, and
we hang until closing. Thank you, friend mel, for being there for me, for
the lemonade, the iced tea, the pretzels, the projects to work on together,
the stone soup we made when there was nothing.
We laid your body in the ground tuesday. We're here today to remember
you and to see that your spirit endures. May our memories of you raise all
our spirits as we return to our lives prepared to pass on that which you have
bestowed upon us; reverence for nature, love of art, an eye for the
mystical nature of the prozaic, and a heightened appreciation for the humor
inherent in the human folly. thank you for unwavering faith in spirit .
( first read at mel's memorial at the painted bride)