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Hartselle Enquirer

A new beginning

By By Tracy L. Brady, Hartselle Enquirer
Sierra Springs resident becomes artist at 81
Edith Sandusky doesn't have to look far to find artistic inspiration.
"I've sketched everything," Sandusky said as she glanced around her room at Sierra Springs Retirement Assisted Living Community.
Her sketchbooks prove she's right.
Sandusky has sketched nearly every hanging picture, knick-knack, photograph and object within those four walls.
When she ran out of things to sketch in her room, Sandusky sketched the window.
And then everything outside of the window-including the resident chipmunk, Alfonso.
"I had never done any of this before Christmas," the 81-years-young artist said. "Now, I like sketching better than anything."
According to Terri Norwood, activities director at Sierra Springs, Sandusky is an inspiration to young and old alike.
"Instead of giving up, like so many people do as they age, Mrs. Sandusky has found direction and chosen a new path in life," Norwood said. "Her attitude is so positive and it just rubs off on everyone around her."
"People bring me pictures of interesting things to sketch all the time now," Sandusky said. "I usually have it done in a day or two. It takes me a little longer because I have glaucoma."
Sandusky didn't unearth her new talent on her own. John Kennedy, her granddaughter's husband who majored in art, recognized her potential artistic talent while admiring the many ceramics she had painted over the years.
"That was around Christmas," Sandusky said. "I thought about what he had said and picked up a little Christmas notepad someone had given me and started drawing things on the backs of the used pages."
Thanks to her son, Johnny Sandusky of Nashville, the budding artist no longer has to draw on scratch paper.
"He brings me new sketch pads and supplies every time he visits now," Sandusky said.
Healing arts
Clarence, Sandusky's husband of 46 years, battled cancer for more than a year. Sandusky cared for him day and night until she too became ill.
"I just remember being at home and then being at the hospital," Sandusky said. "I was unconscious for three days and nights. The doctors didn't think I would make it."
Sandusky said her body literally ran down from the constant care her husband required. Her sodium level became dangerously low, which rendered Sandusky unconscious and kept her in Decatur General Hospital for one month. She then went to a physical rehabilitation facility for another month and moved into Sierra Springs when she had fully recovered.
"Clarence died while I was in the hospital," Sandusky said. "I got to see him twice when we were both in intensive care, but he had already been buried by the time I got out of rehab."
Resident Donnie Hardin was the first to befriend Sandusky at Sierra Springs. She got Sandusky interested in acrylics and gave the grieving widow an enjoyable hobby to look forward to at her new home.
Norwood said instead of giving up, like so many others may have done, Sandusky did just the opposite. She has since also learned to make sun-catchers, notepads, ornaments and has become an aspiring photographer.
"It's a future goal we have," Norwood said. "She wants to take a continuing education class, maybe at Calhoun Community College, and improve her focusing abilities."
Sandusky is grateful for the artistic gift she has discovered and realizes, for her, art is more than just a hobby.
"It just saved my life, I guess," Sandusky said.
Memory lane
Sandusky vividly described one particular sketch. A tree, divided at the top, with a child's swing dangling from a mighty limb.
"I keep thinking that was me on that swing when I was young," Sandusky said, eyes closed and a spry grin across her delicate face. "I love that old tree."