Monday, July 28, 2008

Lady, Your Kid Looks Like a Monkey

The following is an excerpt of an interview of Laura Glusha, artists and human mom of sorts to an endangered DeBrazza monkey, by Mel. Edwards for the Votre Vray Creative Women project.

“I had been working for the movies (making posters) and it was never fulfilling. The studio takes all the credit for your work. Your name is off everything that you paint. I worked like a dog but in the end, you are nothing. I was in a complete depression, so I’d go to the zoo and sketch. One day, I went to the children’s zoo, where I never went, and there was this human incubator. I had a background in sketching for medicine, so I knew what it was. There was this baby monkey, only six inches long, sucking his toe. He had the most beautiful eyes I had seen in my life ever. He looked at me as he knew me. I walked around and could almost feel his eyes piercing me. I went back the next day and every day for five days. It was quiet then, in 1972 the kids were at school, not on trips to the zoo. During that time I just watched and drew him.”

Laura’s connection with the infant did not go unnoticed. A zoo worker said, “We’ve been watching you.” Then they told her the sad tale. The baby had been found in the arms of its father at two days old. The father was throwing him against the side of the cage and when he was spotted. He was almost dead. The zoo workers dropped a net into the cage and hosed down the male until he let go of the offspring, and the workers pulled it to safety. That was the day Laura met him.

“He thinks you’re his mother.”

Laura smiled, “I feel as if he’s my child.” The truth is, Laura and her husband, who helped her gain great skill as an artist, never did have human children.

“We don’t think he’s going to make it but we want to name him. We were thinking either Harold or Suck-a-toe.”

Laura still laughs, 36 years later, saying, “That’s all he did. So, Suck-a-toe it was.”

Although Laura is an artist by nature, her adventures in visiting this little guy every day for nine months brought her along two other colorful paths that were wholly unanticipated. She found an author for Suck-a-toe’s story by discussing it with her chiropractor and his nurse. Laura had no idea the nurse was a published author, but Sister Mary Dorothy knew a good story when she heard it. She handed Laura a sketch pad and said, “We’re going to write a book and you’re going to do the pictures.” Laura also began sharing her stories of Suck-a-toe as a public speaker, visiting schools for free just to talk about her beloved. “It has become the most important thing in my life. I don’t know what made me go the other way that day into the children’s zoo. But when I got in, there he was right in front of me.”

Sometimes love is at first sight, and lives change in an instant. Gratefully, Laura’s life blossomed and the depression went away, as she sketched Suck-a-toe day after day, played peek-a-boo with him in his incubator, and then shared his story with the world.

“I believe everyone has a purpose in this life and if not pursued that person will never be happy,” says Laura. Perhaps without a mother’s love there would have never been a thriving monkey named Suck-a-toe.
Please visit Laura’s website and her amazing animal artwork:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a friend of Laura Glusha's...we met when she came to take my adult education computer classes in Microsoft office. She is an inspiration to me. At 86 years young, she is always learning, always interested, always inquisitive!! May I be just like Laura. Thank you for sharing this wonderful and important part of Laura's life story with others.