When Lucy Hamisak, Frontenac, was asked to provide a door prize for the Cockerill/Foxtown-Union School reunion, held July 18, the 1934 Cockerill High School graduate was happy to oblige by providing one of her paintings.

When Lucy Hamisak, Frontenac, was asked to provide a door prize for the Cockerill/Foxtown-Union School reunion, held July 18, the 1934 Cockerill High School graduate was happy to oblige by providing one of her paintings.
But there was a  problem with the framed painting of sunflowers.
“The Alumni Association officers had a meeting, and we decided it was too beautiful to give away,” said Betty Rons, association treasurer.
Instead, the officers voted to place the painting on permanent display in the Franklin Community Center and Heritage Museum, since Hamisak lived in Franklin and walked to Cockerill to attend school.
“Our president, Maj. Gen. Jack Strukel, said he was so proud of Lucy and thanked her so much for this gift from such a talented artist to our alumni,” Rons said.
The painting was formally presented to the center on Thursday.
Hamisak reminisced about Franklin, noting that she had attended grade school just across the road. Her first day of school, in 1922, was memorable, but not happy.
“My mother put a white hat on me for the first day of school, then she shook her finger at me and told me not to lose it,” Hamisak said. “I remember it just like it was yesterday.”
However, when she got ready to go home, she couldn’t find her precious hat because a boy had hung it behind a door and she burst into tears.
“The teacher, Elizabeth Smith, spanked me because I was crying,” Hamisak said.
Despite the bad memories, she’s planning to paint a picture of the school, and Phyills Bitner provided her Thursday with a old photo of the school as a model.
Hamisak said she started painting at the age of 45.  She began tole painting, the art of painting on metal ware, and after initial lessons branched out into painting on a variety of metal, wooden and crockery objects, including antique pieces such as well-water buckets, milk cans, crocks and pitchers.
She traveled through North and South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas from 1973 to 1982 with the Strawberry Junction Art Group of Spike and Cleva Smith, northeastern Oklahoma.
After moving to Florida in 1982 she began lessons in acrylic on canvas, and still paints regularly. In October 2008 her work was exhibited in Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium.
There will also be an exhibit of her paintings Aug. 5-8 at the Franklin center, with an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 7. Hamisak is planning to attend.
She’s also thinking about what she can do for a door prize for the next Cockerill/Foxtown-Union School reunion.
“I’ve got about 360 days to work on it,” Hamisak said. “The Cockerill symbol was a rooster, so I think I’ll paint one of those, but it will have to be in our school colors —  purple and white.”