August 31, 2007

Granddad Helped me to Know Why I Teach.

There’s nothing new to report on Isaac.

I miss calling him every week and talking with him. He was able to make the biggest problem seem unimportant, and the most inconsequential items of ordinary daily living became magnificent when he examined them. For instance, in my last entry here, I made teaching sound burdensome when that is the farthest thing from the truth, and Granddad would have called me on it. I do love teaching, or I wouldn’t be doing it. I like working with my students – notice they are “my students” – because I take them, problems and all, and together we create a special place where we all work together to help one another learn. And, I learn from them. I know this sounds like Mr. Pollyanna, head in the clouds fairy science teacher. I suppose that the reality of teaching lies somewhere between today’s statement and that of August twenty-eighth. However, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, and Granddad is the reason I know that. He helped me to see that I will be spending at least 30 years as a gay male adult teaching children and or young adults (the second option is based on pursuing a masters and doctorate in science), and that is wonderful, because I like doing just that. So many people don’t like their work, and therefore suffer, and cause others to suffer. Sometimes I suffer from doing my work, but it is because I am a type A personality and perfectionist. However, I actually love the work. Granddad helped to give me that focus.

Please, be sitting by the water somewhere, Granddad, taking photographs, drawing, or reading. I love you and I miss you.

This drawing is one of Granddad's last. It was on his drafting table on the porch in North Palm Beach.

August 28, 2007

Still Nothing

My students are back this week, until Friday. We will all be off four days for the holiday. Of course, it’s maniacal at school. Start up always is - new forms to complete every day - both for the students, their families, faculty and staff. Every school administrator is required to take a course titled “Forms 101,” when completing Masters requirements, and the first thing the professor teaches in that course, rule #1 is, “Thou shall have your secretary design at least one new form every week.”

One of my personal stumbling blocks is learning all my new student’s names. I play name games in every class ostensibly so students can learn one another’s names quickly. Never the less, I hope they don't know that Mr. Stolzfuts struggles just as much as they do - perhaps more so. Of course I’ve given two assignments in every class already, so I end up correcting and grading papers every evening because I insist on immediately returning papers –else how’s a student to learn new material? Each student must know as soon as possible what he/she reported correctly and incorrectly – as well as misspelled words, improper syntax and grammar, and so on. Well, I guess I could continue this diatribe on the problems of a science teacher at the beginning of the school year. However, that is not my purpose, and this is not my journal.

I have nothing much to report concerning Granddad at this time. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office and Florida State Police have finally put out a missing person’s report on Isaac. I will try to continue updating, perhaps once a week.

Thank you everyone, for your messages of concern.

August 26, 2007

No News Isn’t Necessarily Good News.

I talked with Mother on the phone last night. She said that whether or not Isaac is located she and Dad plan on returning to Granddad’s condominium during the Thanksgiving holiday to sell the furniture, empty, and put it up for sale. My heart sank through the floor, and I’ve been terribly depressed ever since. I’m not sure they can do that if Granddad isn’t legally dead. Nevertheless, I will check into it, and at the very least, I will go along, or separately by plane so I can save his laptop, records, artwork, and writing from my compulsive and obsessed mother.

There’s not much else to report at this time. I certainly don’t feel like doing a lengthy personal expose of my feelings. The media drive me mad with their obsession concerning personal confession and disclosure. I’m tired of hearing and reading emotional and trivial life stories, because such things should be private. Besides, there is nothing in most diurnal existence to interest anyone other than the individual. Perhaps Jesus Christ, Ghandi, Buddah, and a few others took personal experience and transformed it into something that all humanity can learn from. The rest of us, well - Twenty-first Century America is a wasteland of hyper empty-headed emotion.

H-m-m-m-m-m! I guess I can do a crazed diatribe just as well as my Granddad. Thus, this is the first moment possessed of a certain and positive cathartic feeling since Granddad disappeared.

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August 22, 2007

Static State!

I’m back in New Jersey, because In Service has begun, and my students will return to school next week on Monday. Mother is still in South Florida, and Dad will leave Orchard Hill Farm by car and drive to South Florida tomorrow. He and Mother plan the return trip to Pennsylvania by car on Friday and Saturday. I told them that they ought to wait until next week because they will run into shore traffic all the way up the east coast of Florida and Georgia on Friday. But, as usual there is no arguing with Mother once her mind is made up, and she wants to go home.

It still appears that Peter is the Palm Beach Sheriff’s primary suspect in evil doing, though as I’ve said, I personally don’t believe that is likely even though Peter continues not speaking to me. That makes him look guilty as hell - but, I think he’s just deeply hurt that anyone would think he is capable of hurting Granddad. And, I also think he feels guilty he and Granddad had not sorted through the complications in their relationship before Granddad disappeared. Upon my return to Woodbury, I had Stephen (my partner) call Peter, but Peter did not answer the phone, nor has he returned Stephen’s call though Stephen left a message on Peter’s machine. I feel badly, but there is nothing else I can do just now.

We are in stasis down in Florida. Granddad is still missing. His condominium will be left as is, at least until we have some definitive answers to the questions surrounding his disappearance. The police haven’t found his car, though they’ve widened the search to include Broward and Dade counties. Mother and I complained that the search should be widened to include the entire state, but so far, that has not been done. I can’t help wondering if the sheriff and police wouldn’t be a bit more proactive if Granddad was a more important person. The longer this thing drags on, the less optimistic I am that Granddad is alive, though I hate to admit it. I love him and miss him. He is extremely important in my life at least in part because he has been such a great help and an example to me in sorting through the problems created by growing up gay in our heterosexist culture. I plan to keep his journal open and running as long as there is some hope that he will be found alive, and perhaps I will keep the blog in tact as a testimony to his life after that. However, I guess I should cross that bridge at the appropriate time.

For now, I’m tired, and I’m writing this on my laptop during In-service. In short, I’m not focused on the blithering speaker at the front of the auditorium, and I will get in trouble if I’m caught uploading this through the school’s Internet hook-up. So, I will use my own wireless hook-up during our break, or upload tonight after work.

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August 19, 2007

Primary Suspect

We’ve been here almost one week, and mother and I are bumping into one another. We are both temperamental. My mother has always been difficult. She can’t help it. She’s just complicated as all get out, and high maintenance, plus, plus. She and Granddad never got a long. In fact, she cleaned out his studio - the bolted and locked “Sanctuary” in the Orchard Hill Farm attic - in the late 1990’s. Granddad had retired from the farm and moved to Pine Needle Retirement Home at the time. Mother said she was just making the farm ready for her own family, but she gave all his paraphernalia and artworks away. I don’t think Granddad has ever forgiven her.* I think she’s feeling guilty now, and that fuels her anxiety and temper. I have no excuse for my irritability.

The state police told Peter not to leave the county the other day, and he still isn’t speaking to us. I drove over to his place yesterday afternoon, but he refused to let me in, saying, “just go!”

“I know you didn’t do anything to Granddad, Peter.”

“That’s not what your mother and the police think.”

“Mother is a mess, and the police are being ridiculous.”

“I don’t want you here, Adam.”

“I had hoped you would help.”

“With what? Apparently I’m the primary suspect. The police have made all kinds of disgusting innuendos about my relationship with Isaac, and they told me not to leave the area. I feel as though I’m stuck in some horrible piece of trashy fiction.”

“Won’t you let me in?”

“Adam, No!” He shut the door and I heard the dead bolt turn, then silence. I knew there was no point. I’ve called repeatedly, but I get his machine. I worry because Peter is actually acting guilty, and I wonder, could the police be right? Did Peter have something to do with Granddad’s disappearance?

*See Granddad’s journal 2003 and 2004 entries for details concerning the Sanctuary debacle.

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August 16, 2007

The Search

I am Adam Stolzfuts Groff, and I am completing this entry in my grandfather’s Weblog because my grandfather, Isaac has been missing since August 2nd or 3rd. His last entry in this journal was made on Thursday, August 2, 2007. You can refer to my entry in Granddad’s journal from August 11, 2007 for an account of our family’s discovery of Isaac’s disappearance.

My mother, Ruth and I flew to Palm Beach International airport from Philadelphia International this past Monday, rented a car, and drove to Granddad’s condominium. Peter, Granddad’s best friend in North Palm Beach met us at the condominium, and we knocked on the door and rang the doorbell repeatedly before unlocking and entering the apartment. Granddad was not there, though everything was neat as a pin, and cool, the air conditioning running full steam ahead, cutting the humidity to a fraction of the August swamp outside. I add this last detail because it is important to note that Granddad had the thermostat set to 73 degrees Fahrenheit. He is frugal and environmentally conscious so I know he would have turned the thermostat up to 79 degrees if he were going away on a trip. We did not conduct much of a search at the time, and Peter suggested we touch nothing until we could convince the police to investigate.

We have visited both the state police, and the North Palm Beach Sheriff's offices. We filed a complete report on Granddad’s disappearance, and finally have convinced both state police and sheriff's office that Isaac is missing, and not just on an unannounced and whimsical junket. They have conducted a thorough search of Isaac’s condominium for anything of significance that might be helpful in finding Granddad, including taking finger prints. A countywide search for Isaac’s Saturn has been instituted though the Saturn hasn’t turned up. In an alrming move the state police have insisted on questioning Peter repeatedly and at great length. I have been wondering if they consider him to be involved in Granddad’s disappearance, and my Mother has been entirely obnoxious with Peter, all but accusing him of doing away with Isaac. Because of her, Peter will no longer talk with us. I don’t blame him because I think this journal itself proves that Peter could not have been involved in Granddad’s disappearance. In fact, I think he loves my Grandfather as much, perhaps more, than any of us in the family.

Meanwhile Mother and I have moved into Grandpa’s condominium after staying in a hotel for the first few days. I feel his presence around me all the time. It is as though he stepped outside for one of his constitutionals. There is a book laying upside down and open on the table next to his chair in the living room - notes in the margins as always, an almost finished drawing on the drawing table in the porch, and a partially completed digital photo montage in a folder labeled “New Work,” on the desktop in this computer. It feels as though he should walk in the door at any moment, and I’m hoping desperately that he is still alive and well.

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August 11, 2007

Isaac Stolzfuts is Missing

I am Adam Stolzfuts, Isaac’s grandson. I am placing this entry on my grandfather’s Web log because he is not available to do so. Briefly, my grandfather has disappeared. His last journal entry was August 2, 2007. I telephoned Grandpa on the third of August and got the message that he was not available at the time. On Saturday, August fourth, my Mother, Ruth tried to call Grandpa and also received the not available message. After we both had made several more attempts to call Grandpa during the afternoon on Saturday, we called one another. I called Grandpa’s friend, Peter who lives near Grandpa's condominium. We tried the telephone number again, got the “I’m not available” message, so Peter went to Grandpa’s, knocked on the door and rang the doorbell repeatedly while we were connected by cell phone. There was no answer. Peter then went to Grandpa’s garage to see if the car was there. It was not. “He must have gone away for a few days, Adam,” said Peter.

“But that isn’t like Isaac. He would have at least called my mother and told her that he would be away, and where he could be reached while away from North Palm Beach.”

“When did you talk to him last?”

“About a week ago.”

“So, the third of August.”

“Yes, that’s about right.”

“When was his last journal entry, Adam?”

“I checked. August second.”

“Let’s see. I know he tries to do entries at least every three days. Since you talked to him on the third, he probably left the condo after that, and that means he’s been away for at least eight days.”

“Yes, without telling anyone he was leaving for a week or longer. That's just not like Grandpa. I’m calling the police.”

I called the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office. They took the report, but said it is common for people to go away without notifying relatives, and told us to call them when Grandpa returned. I was furious! So far nobody is looking for Isaac.

I also asked Peter to look in Grandpa’s condo since he has a key, which he refused to do.

“The police should be the first to look in there, Adam.”

“But, there might be a clue as to his location inside.”

“Still, I don't want to be the first person to go in. If we can’t get the sheriff’s office or the police to take this seriously, then you, or your Dad should be the first person to go into Isaac’s condo.”

My dad has to work, so Mother and I are planning to fly to Florida on Monday if Grandpa hasn’t returned home by then. We will call the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office again, and the Florida State Police before leaving.

I’ve posted this to Grandpa’s journal in the hopes that one of his reader’s might have an idea where he’s gone. Please contact us at Grandpa’s email address. I’ve listed it below as he always does.

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August 02, 2007

Gay Art Websites

As an experiment I “Googled” the above phrase. I found quite a few entries and I’ve included the first ten of them here with a brief summary of each and a link to each. I will continue the list in the future, and I will save critique for another entry. I hope the reader will explore, enjoy, and begin his/her own critique of gay art and the gay art Websites available on the Internet. - Queer Arts Organization - an actual resource for gay artists with events and calendar of events, bookshop, gallery of works, membership, links to other Websites, and comments. - Gay Art Gallery - Many of the images would not open - figurative, concentration on lean and muscular boys. - Man’s touch - a store with several lists of artists and their work. - Haskins Male Art - the artist’s Website and store. - Larry Hill Art - the artists Website and store. - Rick Chris - a gay artist’s Website with galleries of his paintings of well muscled men and boys, store, a novel length story, and a blog. - Douglass Simonson - Honolulu artist who draws and paints naked gay youth and men in various media by the thousands. All work is for sale. - The glbtg Encyclopedia on line has a history of gay male art since the Stonewall Riots. It does not contain images, but discusses the intervention of the Federal Government through censorship associated with the Mapplethorpe exhibit at the Corcoran in 1980 and proceeds through art about AIDS and the fight by gay artists to be able to create work in the mainstream of the art market.
1&zu=http%3A// - An on line gallery with a physical gallery based on Santa Fe, NM that appears to be much more of a fine art oriented website than many of the others I found. The site lists shows, artists, and opportunities for artists. - Fine Art 4 Men - Another store that covers gay figurative drawing, painting, photography historic to contemporary.

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