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Welcome to the web-gallery of Alfredo Escobar's graphite portraits and illustrations.
You may click on most works to see a larger image.

Surrounded by photographs of friends, models of fighter planes, captain's hats, weaponry, and the computer where he is writing his memoirs, C. B. Harrison remembers his days as a Command Pilot in the US Air Force. This son of a turpentine distiller left his home in Hamilton County, Florida in 1947 to join the Air Force, and flew both overt and covert operations in the Korean and Vietnam Wars before his retirement. There are some missions that he still is not allowed to mention, and he holds his loyal silence without apology. "When you take something on, finish it," and "Each crew member is responsible for the other guy," are the lessons CB says he still uses from his days in the air.  He wishes young people could learn those lessons easily, but he figures that the only way to get stronger is to carry a heavy enough load that one has to depend on others. CB and his wife, Marilyn, came to visit us in Berea after Marilyn took Jennifer's dulcimer class at John C Campbell Folk School in July 1999.

The year was 1940 and Charles Chibitty was a senior at Haskalini High School in Lawrence Kansas. Charles and his friends, all full-blooded, card-carrying Comanche, knew that war with Germany was inevitable, and they wanted to do something important for freedom.  Charles and fourteen other Comanche joined the war effort as "Code Talkers," using their native Comanche language as a code to transmit important messages across enemy lines. Charles says of his war experiences in Europe, "Anybody that wasn't scared as hell and didn't talk to the creator out there wasn't there."  Charles has received numerous honors, including a WWII Victory Medal, European Theater of Operations Medal with five bronze stars, the Army Good Conduct Medal, and the Chevalier de l'Ordre National de Merite. The Comanche Nation honored Charles with a "Knights of the Plains" saber, the highest honor a Comanche warrior can hope to achieve. We met Chibitty at his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

"Hob" Hobgood came to the United States when he was a child of eight, from Lotumbie, Belgian Congo. He graduated from Lafayette High School in Lexington, Kentucky and went on to earn a BA in English at Transylvania and an MA and MFA at Western Reserve (now Case Western). He has directed theatre programs at several prominent universities, retiring from U of I Champaign in 1991. Hob met his wife, Jane Bishop, in the production of Wilderness Road in Berea, and Hob went on to direct several outdoor dramas across the Eastern US, including Lost Colony in North Carolina and Honey in the Rock in West Virginia. He has enjoyed the opportunity to work with known actors and directors such as James Earl Jones, Ed Sharon, Nan Martin and Alexander Scorby, and is proud of the good work of his former students, Kathy Bates (award-winning actress of Fried Green Tomatoes), Garland Wright (Director of the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis), Steve Tobolowsky (TV actor), Alan Rusk (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), and Beth Henley (playwright). The Hobgoods are longtime friends of our family.

Born the daughter of a civil mining engineer on the West Virginia and Pennsylvania line, Miss Mary Frances Davidson is full of stories. Her true stories of her parents' courtship and marriage as well as her retelling of many events in her life as a schoolteacher in White Sulphur Springs, Kentucky and later Oak Ridge, Tennessee, are peppered with personal commentaries. Of her early retirement from teaching high school math, she says, "As soon as I could get rocking chair money, I quit!" Asked why she never married, she replied seriously, "I never could find anyone who could park their shoes under my bed that I didn't have to cook three meals a day for!" Ambition and determination have taken Mary Frances a long way - from the mining community of her birth to the University of Kentucky and the graduate program at Duke University, to a full teaching career.  When she moved to her retirement home in Galtinburg, Tennessee, Miss Davidson decided to become a master craftsman, setting out to become an authority on weaving and dyeing. Today, at ninety-four years old, this author of "The Dye Pot" and veteran instructor at Arrowmont is using her time and resources to help the people in her church and community create and achieve their dreams.

Mother Maggie Carter was born in Valdosta, Georgia in 1915, and grew up as one of ten children in a family of farmers. “Working on a farm is good, honest work,” she says, and hopes that the younger generation will learn the value of it before it is too late. Mother Maggie has certainly left a legacy for the younger generation, with twenty-seven great grandchildren to her credit. She lives in Maryland now, and we met her at a restaurant in Springfield, Missouri in October 1999.

Per Boiesen (pronounced “Pehr Boy-sen”) is a perfect example of how deep still waters can run. He is a dairy farmer in Djursland, the north-eastern portion of Jutland, Denmark. Although he says he doesn’t speak English, be careful what you say in his presence - for example, an unsuspecting person making a remark such as “I would sure like to try milking a cow by hand someday,” will find themselves out in the barn with their arm stuck under Per’s most obliging cow! When Per and Henny’s son and daughter-in-law called from their trip around the world to tell them they would soon be grandparents, Per said, in English, with an enigmatic smile on his face, “Made in Australia!” Per and Henny now have three grandchildren, and they adopt us for an evening or two each time we go to Denmark.

"If you're born in the mountains, you're bound to end up in the mountains." Raleigh Adams was born on Long Branch in the Cutshin Creek area of Leslie County, Kentucky, the youngest of seven children. Although he was born in the year of the stock market crash, his family never felt the effects of the struggling American economy. "I grew up farming the hillsides," he explains, "We always had food to eat, clothes to wear . . . we were self-sufficient." Raleigh left home to study at Appalachian Bible College in Bradley, West Virginia, and spent time in the Army before returning home to Cutshin to work as a miner at Blue Diamond for eighteen years. Raleigh has black lung, but he doesn't let that keep him from enjoying his wife, children, grandchildren and community. He wishes no one had to deal with illnesses associated with mining, and believes that mining, "if it's done right, wouldn't be that unhealthy." Raleigh and his wife, Mary Jane were kind enough to offer us a room at their home in October 1999 while we were visiting the school where Mary Jane teaches.

Wife, mother, grandmother, doctor’s wife, author, church leader, and counselor are just a few of the titles that come to the minds of those of us who know Roberta Fry Schaeffer. Her thirty-eight years of working beside her husband at Redbird Mission in Eastern Kentucky taught her “that loving people is the most important thing in life. . . more important than salary, position, anything.” She and Doc are enjoying their retirement in Berea, celebrating fifty-seven years of marriage this year. “Now Doc works for me,” Roberta says, giving him complete credit for the fact that she looks so good. And how does Doc feel about that? “She’s the only house call I make now . . . and I love her better now than when I married her,” he says, with a happy grin and sparkling eyes.

Described as a “Humor bomb” by his friends, Vagn Christiansen (pronounced “Vown”) is an unforgettable person. Vagn was born one of ten children near the Limfjord in Northern Denmark, and had his first job when he was just eleven years old. He has always enjoyed solitude in work, from his three years as a fisherman to the twelve years he spent as a butcher to the custodial work he does now. But solitude in work is enough for Vagn, and during off hours he is the life of the party. When asked what he has gained from all his different life experiences, he replied, “I’ve done a whole lot and known a whole lot of girls!” He’s been settled on one of those girls for thirty years, though, a sweet lady named Marie.
  Most people know Charley as a craftsman who makes Shaker furniture and oval boxes, and others know him as a wild and crazy Contra Dancer. “Dance has shaped me as much as my craft - dance is the way I plug into the community,” Charley says. Charley’s development as a craftsman started when he wrote in his diary at sixteen years old, “I believe I am supposed to be a craftsman, but in this day and age it’s impossible.” Traveling through Berea in 1978 inspired him to try the impossible, when he saw successful crafts people like woodworker, Warren May making a living doing what they loved. Charley has carved a place for himself in the Berea landscape since moving into town in 1980 and being, to quote Charley directly, “Too dumb to quit.” Perhaps Charley’s heritage of strong-willed ancestors has helped his resolve to stay focused. He comes from a long line of pioneers; his father’s family includes the colonial governor of Virginia and his mother’s family came to Canada in 1640. We have known Charley since he came to Berea and, in 1981, made Jennifer’s first dulcimer.
  Being born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania the son of a Scottish steelworker and a German missionary was an appropriate beginning for Richard Ramsay. After earning a degree from Berea College and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina, Dick went to Mexico with the Friends Service Committee. His work with the Otomi Indians kept him in Mexico for the majority of the next forty years. When he was at home in the United States, he involved himself with important national issues, such as the Civil Rights battles of the 1960’s - even being imprisoned once with Martin Luther King for passive resistance. His dedication to both Mexican and American people is an inspiration to all service-oriented individuals who share his dream of a world united in mutual caring. Dick and his brothers are the original reasons for this series - Alfredo decided to draw them in commemoration of their being together last summer, to give Dick a proper send-off as he retired to Mexico.
  Born the son of a strongly religious steelworker who became a noted leader in the formation of labor unions, William Ramsay grew up in the thick of the struggle for workers’ rights in America. Bill met and married an East Tennessee girl named Rose Moore while they were both students at Berea College, and, after serving in the military for two years, they settled down to their vocations: raising six children and furthering the cause of service learning in higher education. Bill Ramsay became “Dean Ramsay” of Berea College in 1970, when he returned to his alma mater to serve as Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Labor. His philosophy for work and service, “You should try to make your work a vocation of service,” and his consistent standing for right has won him the respect of all who know him, especially his daughter, Jennifer, and son-in-law, Alfredo!
  John Martin Ramsay is the oldest son of the Ramsay trio featured in the show. He was the first of the brothers to attend Berea College, where he became involved with the Berea College Country Dancers and also worked in the College Dairy. John went on to earn a PhD in Agriculture and teach at both the high school and college levels before returning to Berea College as Director of Recreation Extension. His interest in indigenous cultures and involvement with the Quaker community and the Peace Movement have made him aware of the human spirit in a very special way. Somehow amidst the busy-ness of his retirement and substitute teaching in Saint Louis, Dr. John (Uncle John, to us!) continues to work with community recreation and folk dance and finds time to write his thoughts on spirituality and other things he considers thought-worthy.

Please contact Alfredo directly to discuss comissioned work.

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