Little Charlie by Charlie O'Shields

So this is my doodlewash submission for the first Selfie Art Day hosted by the lovely Teresa Robeson (follow her!). Since Guest Doodlewasher Jenny Kroik already showed you what I look like now just a week or so ago, I figured I needed to mix things up a bit.

So for this stop on the Kansas City tour, we’re going back in time to the mid-70s (as if the clothes weren’t a dead give away). This is only my second doodlewashed portrait (no ink this time, only pencil), but I did get the likeness right. For some reason drawing myself at this age was much easier as it’s not quite someone I even know.

In fact, my long term memory is so poor that the only recollections of childhood I have are the stories my mother tells me (and I’m still not sure just how reliable she is as a source). These are stories we cringe at hearing our parents tell, but since I’m not sure what to write about a selfie, I figured I’d share some with you. Or, according to mom, as I used to say when announcing my 3-year-old self bounding into room, “Here comes ole Chah-wee!”

First mom claim involved my learning to walk. I was behind the age kids should be walking on their own and my family was wondering what was taking me so long. One day, I was standing holding the edge of a piano and let go and suddenly walked across the room which caused the family gathered there to erupt in applause. “He was just waiting for the applause,” she tells everyone, “he’s been walking ever since!”

She also claims that I started reading before anyone remembered teaching me. In the grocery store as my mom and older sister were struggling to find the right kind of Campbell’s soup (and I mean seriously… maybe that can is a design that’s cool in Warhol’s hands, but it was a pain in the butt back before they added photos). I was only 2, but would casually point to the right one each time they were struggling. To which my sister would always reply, “Who taught you to read, Charlie?”

Also, the child you see above, was once asked the million dollar question. You know the one. The mother of all questions:

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Funny, how it’s so fun when we’re younger to dream about possible answers to this, and yet terrifying and impossible to answer as adults. But allegedly, according to mom, I didn’t skip a beat and answered, “Famous! So they’ll make a doll that looks like me.”

Yeah… I’m not sure the validity of these stories as they all sound a bit far-fetched to me, but I have to admire this kid’s ambition. Sometimes I wonder what “little ‘ole Chah-wee” would think of me now. Did I do all the things he dreamed about way back then? Would he be proud of “Old Charlie” now or feel like I failed him? Did I live up to our expectations?

“Sorry, Charlie!” (as that tuna used to say on commercials, making your childhood a one joke nightmare), I don’t think I’ve done everything you set out to accomplish yet. We’re not particularly famous now and we never got that doll, buddy. But there’s good news, we’re still growing up, so we get to keep dreaming.

So as we celebrate Selfie Day, and I get to see all of your beautiful faces in all of your beautifully unique styles, I hope you’re enjoying growing up as well. And if you still haven’t figured out what you want to be or are still waiting to fulfill that promise to your ambitious 3-year-old self, don’t worry about it! As little Charlie used to say, “Milk Shake! Boom! Boom!” He was just so profound, that kid. Always so thought-provoking.

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

38 replies on “Little Charlie

  1. Aw, weren’t you adorable. What a brilliant portrait!! Loving the eyes.

    And loving the stories! Wanting to be famous and milking the applause doesn’t sound like you at all…! (I too have to rely on similarly dubious sources for any kind of childhood memory… there are some corkers, though.) And blimey, I think three-year old me would tut in disdain; he’d trump twenty-three year old me in just about every way, especially in intellect.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic! Having only seen your photograph, a painted portrait, and your lovely words…it would appear that you have captured your self portrait in a most charming way. Those beautiful eyes appear full of energy, excitement and curiosity, just like the current Chaw-wee…er, Charlie’s eyes probably are. Delightfully well done you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Charlie, I just looooove you! Not only do you constantly delight me with a piece of wonderful art daily, but you also make me laugh so hard with your stories! Regardless of whether the stories are true, I really love them. And you sound like my older son: he also learned to read on his own before he was 2 and was slow to walk.😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As if “old” Chah wee hadn’t already stolen our hearts, you had to go and really get us swooning with this adorable baby Chah wee! 🙂 Seriously – though – what an amazing drawing/painting buddy! And even if you don’t get to be famous someday (though there is A LOT OF TIME!) – you are famous in our little world in an endearing way – and we all think YOU are a DOLL! xo

    Liked by 2 people

  5. WOWZA! Charlie! You are a cutie pie! 💜 FABULOUS selfie as a child! Love that gleam in your baby blue eyes that match the sailboats on your outfit. I used to cringe at some of the old family stories too – I like yours much better! 😊😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You may not have a doll, but you have a painted selfie and a painting someone else made of you (if I remember well). So you´re almost there! 😊 I forgot selfie-day, darn! 😳 Next time! Oh, and I really like your selfie, it´s a wonderful watercolor painting of a really cute kid!

    Liked by 1 person

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