ITAS Podcast Episode #6
This episode of the ITAS Podcast turned out to be an hour-long conversation with an amazing visual artist and another friend of mine Cheryl Ehlers. And I can tell you it was nothing like I expected because Cheryl has so much energy and enthusiasm that she practically took over the conversation! All I had to do is to give in and enjoy her incredible stories.
Needless to say that transcribing an hour-long recording is not easy and it would have made an extremely long blog post.
So I decided to transcribe one of the stories (a very unusual one!) and leave the rest of them for you to listen to.
And of course, all the websites and projects Cheryl mentioned during the interview as well as the links to her online resources are included at the bottom of this post.
A genealogy tree for a dying friend
“My interests go all over the place. Genealogy is one. It’s something I still do. I’m a certified genealogist. That’s a passion that I had for quite some time. And the clients just come falling out of the sky.
“I have some amazing stories! The people I got to meet, the skeletons I found in closets, the trust that people give you to get deep into their personal lives It’s really amazing. I have books in libraries that I wrote in Corpus Christi, Texas about some very famous families.
“The one story is about my girlfriend’s family. it was a gift for her, she was dying of cancer. I found out that her grandfather fought Napoleon and was defeated. And she didn’t know what was coming down the road until we found it out.
“She had asked me to do something that was almost impossible to do in a matter of four months because she was going to be dead in four months. She wanted to gift to her children with her family genealogy.
“The only way to do it was through a group I work with called Angel Wings. And I also have people all over the world that I can connect with. So I connected with this gentleman out of Mecklenburg, Germany where her family fled from France. And this guy went into the archives and found the family tree, which is very rare. Not that you can’t find the family tree, but you cannot get into the archives. He finagled his way into the archives and photographed the whole family tree which you’re not supposed to do, and he smuggled it out of Germany.
“We had this all done for her but she died three days before we had finished. The family did get the book. And I believe she would have been impressed, but she couldn’t hang on any longer.
“I did it all in five months. I went back to the 1400s all the way back to Kings. It was amazing! The chart was nine feet long. And it was all written in Old English. And it had everyone, there were ladies in waiting, a wait, a servant, a knight. It gave me goosebumps. I still have the desk with all of the information. I wrote a book and it’s now in Corpus Christi, Texas in the library.
“And the kids all have their own book. It was a wonderful, wonderful feeling to be able to do that for her. And Patti (that’s her name) was a very, very sweet person, and it’s a shame she had to go that way. That was her one request, so I couldn’t turn her down. I sure didn’t know how I was going to do it. Because it’s hard when you are not there.
Defending black history
“I used to fly all over and do research. And I actually saw the 1965 census records. No one’s ever seen it yet. I actually went to a basement in Savannah, Georgia when I was doing research on my own family. And all the black records are in the basement and all the white records are up in the courthouse. And the black records are falling apart and they’re moldy.
“I got them to remove the black records from the basement and they’re now up there where they belong. All the registers are up there where they belong in Savannah, Georgia. I threw a hissy fit. I really did, I went to the mayor! Anyway, make a long story short, I got it done.
Links and references
Arts a Thriv’inn 2021. Original Banner Art Exhibition and Auction to benefit The Balboa Park Conservancy.
YellowPageArtist. The project to help artists showcase their work and attract more clients founded by Cheryl Ehlers.
Zoonitas. The art show organized by local artists and curated by Cheryl Ehlers to support Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas, CA.
Gator by the Bay Festival 2015, Carlsbad, CA. Featured artist Cheryl Ehlers.
“Silent Beauty”, 13ft x 5ft acrylic on canvas
Where to find Cheryl online
Official website: cherylehlersart.com
Blog & art news: ArtBuzz
YouTube channel: Cheryl Ehlers
Facebook: Cheryl Ehlers Art