486 Yoly Petra Stroeve


In my late teens, I moved to Philadelphia to live with my aunt and uncle. I was going to nanny my 5-year-old cousin in exchange for room and board. After growing up in a small university town in California, I was struck by the city of Philadelphia and its diversity of people, options and life paths. I was also taken by my family who welcomed me into their home and graciously put up with my self-centered teenager-ness. They gave me a bedroom in the third floor apartment and allowed me to use the apartment’s kitchen as my art studio. While I was living with them, my aunt adopted a Labrador puppy she named Harpo. Harpo liked to chew. One day he found the door to the third floor ajar and chewed up several tubes of paint I had left carelessly on the floor. I remember my aunt being so worried about him. She was particularly concerned about him eating the red paint because she was afraid it may be toxic. Thankfully Harpo did not get ill and lived on to chew up many other things. My aunt, if she had been angry, forgave my carelessness quickly. Years have passed and I have continued to return to their home in Philly and consider it a home-away-from-home.