In my 1968 collection there are two elms, on the same card. Those two elms appear here side-by-side, the Cedar Elm and the American Elm. I'm told (by Paul Cox and Patty Leslie, in Texas Trees, A Friendly Guide) that the grand champion American Elm in the state is in Wood County measuring 99 feet tall, 192 inches in circumference, and having a crown spread of 92 feet. Without question a towering beauty of a shade tree, but it is the Cedar Elm that figures more strongly in my memory. It's bright yellow fall color is a standout that has, and does, catch my eye every year.
The strongest memory I have of the elm, however, has nothing to do with the beauty of the tree, spring or fall, nothing to do with it's value in the landscape or to wildlife, nothing to do with it's majesty. It's an embarrassing one to confess, though if my intent in this project is to convey a sense of time and place, and connect the landscape of my youth to what speaks to me in my art today, it has a definite place. I read in books of 'elms'. I knew that I lived among 'ellums'. I was a teenager when it finally occurred to me that the two were the same thing. I've seen a good bit of the world since 1968, but that naive girl from deep ellum is never far from the surface.