Virginia Marie Davis Tell Us Your Story
This is a fascinating story about a very special lady, Virginia Marie Davis.
Miss Virginia was born on February 7, 1930 in Topeka, Kansas to Bernice and Aaron Cortez. She was the eldest child and had 2 sisters, Doris and Jaqueline. She considers herself a "Real River Rat", living on the banks of a river! "My dad was a farmer, and the farmer he worked for let us pitch a tent on the river bank. We lived in the tent for a while then moved into a house. The river living was a lot more fun." Miss Virginia's enjoyed running the river bank with her dad, who threw out trout lines, left the lines out overnight, and check the lines in the morning to see what was caught.
As a little girl, she would travel to Chicago to stay the whole summer with her Grandmother Minnie and Aunt Myrtle. Her favorite cousin was Buddy, "He was a lot of fun! I even named a pet baby squirrel after Buddy. We would all go to Riverview Amusement Park. If you dressed up in costumes on Saturday, you got 20 free tickets! I always dressed at a Dutch girl. It was so much fun!"
Miss Virginia and her Aunt would paint. Her Aunt was an artist but had to stop painting because of WWI, when painting supplies were no longer available from Germany and France. Miss Virginia knew she had a God Given Talent at a very young age, and so did her family! Her Uncle has art work in the Metropolitan Art Museum in Chicago. She always had a pencil and paper in hand since she was able to hold a pencil. Miss Virginia would buy paper dolls, and throw away the paper clothes. "The only dolls I ever played with were paper, and I designed and made all their clothes."
Miss Virginia was 18 years old when she married Ralph in 1948. They were married for 68 years. "I met Ralph at a Steak and Shake where he worked. I walked in the door, saw Ralph, and took one look at his curly hair under his paper hat, and I was hooked. We had a son, Steven Roger. I would rather raise 6 boys than 1 girl! Steven gave us no trouble at all. He was a good son and had his own paper route. One of my favorite memories of Steven was when he picked up baby raccoons off the road and raised them."
Since Virginia and Ralph were restaurant owners, and Ralph was always at the restaurant, she kept herself busy by painting all day. "I believe I was around 43 years old. Once, my husband and I were in Hermann, Missouri, and I saw a card with a china plate on it. I grabbed one, started to take classes weekly. I just kept learning more and more about painting on china. There are many forms and styles of painting, but I did the Naturalistic Form of China painting, mainly plates. The Leading Lady is the main focus on a painting. Every stroke you would have to turn the plate. There is a lengthy process to making it perfect. I got my teaching certificate and taught many students how to paint throughout the years."
Miss Virginia was invited to participate in many Art Fairs, belonged to the World Organization of China Painters, and her raccoon painting (completed with a toothpick, instead of a brush) was featured in The China Decorator magazine.
Miss Virginia finished her story by saying, "It's just like Christmas morning when you see your painting that you worked so hard on finally completed! However, two years ago my hand crippled up . I couldn't hold the brush anymore. It just broke my heart. My goal is to hold a paint brush in my hand again and maybe teach a few of my friends at University to paint!"