Here I am in a picture my father drew at about age four either drawing or trying to write.  I’m making marks on paper.  The house is in Anaheim in Orange County, California.  In 196o little girls still wore cotton dresses with bows in the back that had to be ironed.


Laurie by Paul McCoy 1960 938x1024 Making a Mark

I was born in Seattle, Washington in 1956.  Here is a drawing my father did the year I was born.  It’s funny but, to this day, I love sweet peas almost more than any other flower.

Sweet peas Paul McCoy 1956 757x1024 Making a Mark


My parents moved to Seattle in the early fifties after my father got an MA in English from Cornell following WWII.  My father loved literature and poetry and thought he would continue into a PhD program at the University of Washington to study with poet Theodore Rotheke.  But Rotheke ended up leaving to travel in Europe, so my father changed plans and got a job editing technical manuals for Boeing in Seattle.  The work was boring and his other passion was art, so he started wondering if he would like to make his living as an artist.  My mother said they cleaned out their savings and sold stocks to travel and live in Spain for eighteen months so my father could paint; in the end their money began to run out, and he decided he might not enjoy the life of a starving artist.  Back in the states the aerospace industry was booming and salaries were lucrative.

My parents returned to Seattle and shortly after my father went alone to Orange County, got a job, bought a car, rented a house and called my mother on the telephone.  He said, “Bring the children down and join me.”  So she did.  The wooden crate of drawings and paintings from Spain came later on the moving truck.

I grew up in a family where people drew and wrote.  It was the modern period of art and design.  This is another picture my father drew of the same house.

Anaheim House Paul McCoy 1960 791x1024 Making a Mark


I think this is the same chair in the picture.


Eames Molded Plywood Chair DWR 784x1024 Making a Mark

Eames Molded Plywood Chair

In my childhood I was trying to write and draw because I enjoyed it.  I think that sometimes when we become adults we forget that writing fiction is very fun.  Reason enough to pursue it.


Image Credits:

Drawings by Paul McCoy circa 1950’s and early 1960’s. Laurie Gates private collection.  Photos of drawings by Laurie Gates, 2013.

Photograph from Design Within Reach catalogue, date unknown.