Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rebecca McCann-The Cheerful Cherub


Once upon a time there was a young lady named Rebecca McCann, an artist just after the first turn of the last century, a gentle soul who loved life and nature. She was born in Quincy, Illinois about 1896, studied after high school at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, and sought work at the Chicago Evening Post as an illustrator. She told her friend Mary Bonner about the encounter later:
“I thought that I would like to do some work for one of the evening papers, so I went boldly to the newspaper office, carrying a large bag filled with samples of the work I meant to show. But in the excitement some odd little verses with drawings I hadn’t meant to exhibit dropped out of the bag on the floor. He (the editor, Julian Mason) picked them up and looked at them carefully. I had made them only for my own amusement. I had written verses when I had gone out in the country for a rest a little while before.”
There’s more, but for brevity, Mason liked the drawings, hired her and the Cherubs became a daily feature.
Rebecca loved the country, and loved to travel-as she could write and draw anywhere, she wasn’t bound to a desk or office, and composed many of the Cherubs sitting out on a rock, or under a shade tree.
The Cherubs are not all cheerful-Rebecca was a sensitive, honest soul who marked with her pen the good and bad of humanity- her life was not always a happy one, but her optimism, her cherishment of life and living made the “Cheerful” quite fitting. She wrote:
“Life itself can’t give me joy
Unless I really will it.
Life just gives me time and space--
It’s up to me to fill it.”

“If half the world is shadow
Half at least is light,
And joy comes after sorrow
As day comes after night.”

This small sampling comes from the collected Cherubs-”The Complete Cheerful Cherub”-I encourage anyone who needs a bit more blessing in their life to seek and find a copy and enjoy.