THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY

Chapter One

Most of the people who had been born and raised in Whitewood had long since left for big cities that were bustling with advancement opportunities.  There was nothing to keep young people in the tiny hometown so they went away to work in office towers and underground shopping malls and suburban offices in busy urban areas.  The few that stayed in Whitewood took jobs either in Korn’s Super-Econo Market, Korn’s Fashion For Families shop, Korn’s Electronics and Computer Centre, and Korn’s Fine Pine Furniture Manufacturing Corporation.

The only young person that remained in Whitewood but did not work for one of the Korn family’s enterprises was the Korn’s only son, Milton.  The Korn’s only daughter, Rebecca was twenty-two, two years younger than Milton was.  She had moved to Montreal at eighteen for a job with an advertising agency.

Milton had made himself a studio in an unused space over the three-car garage behind the Korn mansion.  The well-known residence stood back from the road on their five-hundred-acre horse farm.  Milton was an artist who created paintings, sculptures, carvings and drawings of various kinds.

Milton’s works sold for good prices at biannual art shows in Winnipeg, where locals with an interest in art respected and collected his work.  Most of the time, however, his parents supported him.  That is to say they fed, clothed, and housed Milton, but there was no moral support or encouragement.  Quite the opposite most of the time as his parents said everything they could to discourage him.  They refused to recognise the value of his work, even when he turned over to them the proceeds of his sales, usually between ten thousand and twenty thousand dollars during each show.  The derision intensified when Rebecca took on her job in the city, and escalated even more when she was rapidly promoted to more and more responsible – and lucrative – positions.

Insults flowed whenever Milton was in earshot.  He began to live in the studio constantly, and rarely saw his parents.  His mother and father took turns slapping him psychologically with statements like:

“You’ll never amount to anything doing art.”

“Your father needs you to help with the business.”

In spite of the scorn, Milton Korn continued with his personal career.  He was twenty-four years old and past the time when he should be away from his parents’ home and perhaps getting married.  Milton’s father barely spoke to him, crushed that his only son was uninterested in taking over the family enterprises.   Samuel Korn had worked all his life to create wealth and security for his family.  It was an unbearable burden of the ageing man, and his health was fading with the stress of watching his son waste his life.

Milton didn’t feel that he was wasting his life.  The more art he created, the better his art became.  He worked intensely on his oil paintings, watercolours, clay and wax sculptures and woodcarvings.  He also enjoyed an active social life.  He was tall, lean, and handsome, besides having a wealthy and influential family.  His gallery showings garnered him a lot of attention from women young and old.  He enjoyed the attention, but never intended to unite with any of his female companions. He always made certain each of them understood that this was his intention.

His parents pushed and bribed him.

In the end, Milton Korn’s parents gave him 30 days to vacate the family home.  Over the years he had been given much by his wealthy parents as the only way they knew to get him to be what they wanted him to be.  Everything that anyone would want – cars, boats, money, travel, and credit cards were handed to him without question – obviously meant to bribe Milton into obedience.

In preparation for setting off into the real world, Milton arranged for a one-man show of his art and design work at the Gallery Communicate in Regina.  Every piece but one was sold, and Milton had almost thirty-four thousand dollars after the gallery’s commission, but there was much more to come in a form he had never contemplated.

On the prairie flatlands outside of Regina a crew was producing a television commercial for an importer of Asian automobiles.  With a Sunday off, most of the crew wandered around the city sightseeing and relaxing.  The producer, Honey Freed, wandered into the Gallery Communicate, and was surprised and excited by what she saw, in the work of Milton Korn.  She asked the proprietor if she knew the artist well, and was told that he was familiar.  Although he was rarely seen in town, he was well known, because his family virtually owned the town.

Honey learned that during this night, the crew would be setting up an exhibit of Milton’s work. The vernissage will be tomorrow.

(To Be Continued)

 

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