Diogenes: He used to stroll about in full daylight with a lamp; when asked what he was doing, he would answer, "I am looking for a man." (Modern sources often say that Diogenes was looking for an "honest man", but in ancient sources he is simply "looking for a man". In his view, the unreasoning behavior of the people around him meant that they did not qualify as men.) From Wikipedia.
In an irony almost too mind-boggling to grasp, Grandma Layton's profound drawing of an historic philosopher ended up in the hands of a vulgar, ignorant, and narcissistic man. We saw through his Machiavellian tendencies long ago, unfortunately Joe Tracy's manipulation of emotions allowed him to control and influence his family and friends around him, ultimately serving his own interests. There are a hundred reasons why we formed this assessment of his character, but for now I will keep to the ones pertinent to this true backstory: the Diogenes drawing's journey from Grandma Layton's studio to the immoral hands of our brother-in-law.
On July 4, 1981, Grandma gave the drawing to Kay, our mother. Mom had the same basic beliefs as Diogenes - a cynical bent on life - so this drawing fit into her personality perfectly. It would be several years before Joe made his obnoxious entrance into our lives, because during these years (the early 1980's) Kathy was married to a handsome "manly man", Jack, who adored Mom, Kathy's sisters, and his niece and nephew. Life continued, and when Kathy and Judy divorced their husbands, Judy moved to St. Joseph, MO to work at a weekly shopper, Kathy followed along, Carla and her small children moved there in early 1986 to escape a brutal ex, and Mom (with Diogenes) wasn't far behind. So you see, we knew Joe a long time, our feelings are not hyperbole. He was a braggart, liar, cheater, greedy, drug addict, glutton - I can't for the life of me think of a good quality in that man, he was the antithesis of the kind of human Diogenes was looking for.
Before Mom died March 27, 2005, she bequeathed the drawing to Judy. After being stolen by Judy's ex-boyfriend and being hidden in the rafters of the basement, she finally recovered Diogenes and he found his place in her home. Kathy asked if she could borrow it to show some friends, and of course Judy said yes. It is an incredible work and should be seen by as many people as possible. We sisters had discussed many times that we would donate our Grandma Layton drawings to various museums upon our deaths, to keep Grandma's message alive, not knowing how soon that day would come.
After our sister died, Joe cut us off from everything Kathy. He was horrible to her when she was alive, and it continued after her death. I will not recount everything that man did to destroy our family, that will have to wait for other posts (I'm trying really hard to keep my focus on Diogenes drawing's journey). We contacted Joe and told him we wanted the drawing returned to us or donated to a museum. We also explained to him that this was one of Grandma's "themed" drawings - he had no idea what we were talking about. Oh, what an ignorant man... We did not hear from him after that, then he died. Our sister's treasured possessions were sold off at garage sales or taken by greedy Tracy family members. We were determined to track down the drawing, going as far as threatening legal action if necessary. Finally, the drawing was found, donated by one of Joe's lackeys months after his death. I can hardly stand to look at the plaque, but it says, "donated by Joe Tracy...". No mention of Kathy's maiden name - everything is about Joe. The problem is that Diogenes was not Joe’s to donate. The drawing is Judy's. Mom, Grandma, and Kathy would be heartsick that he stole this drawing and passed it off as some benevolent tribute to Kathy. We expect this to be made right. We don’t really care who got the tax donation for it, let Joe have that, he didn’t care about Grandma’s message, just what he could get out of it.
The Diogenes plaque should read, "Donated by the family of Elizabeth Layton, in honor of her granddaughter Kathy Beth Russell Tracy".
If an inquisitive somebody were to demand a DNA analysis be done on the 3 sisters, he may not be surprised to find those twisted strands are coated with a healthy dose of printer's ink, given our pedigree and the many literary contributions from our maternal ancestors: