A big part of what Improvised Life does is challenge assumptions, whether it be how our space is supposed to look, or what we are supposed to be doing, or HOW WE ARE THINKING. So we love and appreciate Sandra Calder Davidson’s Pink Fluff, about her encounter with a very pink, very fluffy woman at a train station. As Sandra writes: Age helps me tell certain truths.

It is from her book The Calder Family and Other Critters, Portraits and Reflections of the many interesting people that surrounded her famous father Alexander Calder and the family. Sandra has an astonishing knack for caricaturing humans as animals.


Here is Pink Fluff (You can also read it as a PDF here.)


We’ve propped Sandra’s book open at her very pink lady as a reminder of an essential lesson that is too easy to forget…

Willie Dixon’s 1962 lyrics, sung by the great Bo Diddley, set that big lesson to music you can dance to…

You can’t judge an apple by looking at a tree
You can’t judge honey by looking at the bee
You can’t judge a daughter by looking at the mother
You can’t judge a book by looking at the cover 

(Video link here.)


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3 replies on “Sandra Calder Davidson’s Brilliant Lesson in Self-Correction (+ Bo Diddley)

  1. PINK POWER.. also a beautiful lesson in judgments something we all must train ourselves not to do

  2. I meant to comment when I first read this but as the saying goes “stuff happens”. I am commenting now. Of all the many, many wonderful things I have read on IL, few moved me quite as much as this did. How easily I could, no, would have been Sandra Davidson in that situation. I am determined to move forward in a very different direction, to be more open and less, MUCH less, judgemental. I will keep a copy of this piece close at hand and I know I will be the happier for it.

  3. A former neighbor of yours in Roxbury. I was at your sister Mary’s 4th(?) birthday party with Joan Petersen, you and your mother and father. I watched your father make a ring for Mary as a birthday present for her in his studio. Little did I appreciate the attistic talent did that I was witnessing. Recently Mary’s son ( Alexander Rower ) purchased the Coyle family’s farm from my nephew Dennis Coyle. I would be very much interested in what his plans for that property are so that I can continue the history of it from my father’s inheritance of it in the early 1900’s.

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