Mae's Real Stories

Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa and anyone else who would like to be here

Sunday, September 24, 2006


The Spirit of St. Louis

The city of St. Louis is named for a man who lived long ago. He was called Saint Louis, and he was King Louis IX of France. The people who first built the city on the banks of the Mississippi River came from France almost 500 years after the time of King Louis. They named the city for this king.

In front of the Art Museum in Forest Park stands a statue of St. Louis, riding on a horse, holding up a sword, and wearing his crown. For the people of St. Louis, this statue has always been a symbol of the city. I remember seeing the statue whenever we went to the art museum. Because the museum is at the top of a high hill, the statue is very dramatic.

One of my mother's favorite jobs as an artist was to make a pen-and-ink sketch of this statue once a year. This drawing was part of the creation of a special certificate called the St. Louis Award. Every year a very important person received this award, including the certificate with his or her name on it. A committee of important people decided who would receive the award, and then they had my mother make the certificate. Finally, there was a big ceremony, and the person received the award. My mother was only the artist: she did not go to the ceremony. But she drew her initials in the corner of the sketch.

My mother saved this clipping of the mayor of St. Louis receiving the award. It's hard to see the little picture of the statue of St. Louis the King, but you can make it out if you try.

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