When I made it back to Los Angeles after high school, I rented a small studio apartment in the Holland’s back yard for the last two years of college. By that time Mr. Holland had suffered a stroke. I wish I had spent more time with him then, but I was too involved with art school and girlfriends. It wasn’t very sensitive on my part and I will always regret that.
Norma and Cecil Holland had two children. Richard and Margaret. I remember Richard had an animal sanctuary in Castaic. I once drove Norma out there to visit and he taught me the safe way to pet a porcupine. You pet with the grain, and as long as they aren’t nervous, everything will be fine.
Mr. Holland used to talk about his daughter who was a really great artist. He always said she was the real artist in the family, and she did in fact turn out to be a well-known portrait painter. Famous for painting Presidents and naval officers, among other things. So when I found a website for Meg Holland Sargent, I remembered our conversations and knew I’d found her.
Her website shows her work, which is really beautiful, and it also has a video that she narrates about her father. Her portrait of him at the top of the page shows him just slightly older than the way he looked when I knew him. Check out:
http://www.sargentportraits.com/ Then go to TRIBUTES and click on Cecil Claude Holland to watch the video at the bottom. I love the thought that they once had a swimming party at their Coldwater Canyon house for the Our Gang kids.
Usually it is those special teachers who have the biggest influence in your life. Teachers that connected and probably never knew how important such little things became in our lives. A friend became a novelist because of our English teacher in high school, and I will always remember him for his encouragement to me, even though I never went the literary route. There were history teachers, and English teachers, and art teachers, but most of all, I remember Mr. Holland.