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December 1977

Written by Jeri Robinson

After this successful fundraising meeting Elaine and I met to talk about the Before You Were Three project. Several calls had been placed to Delacorte, but no answer had been received. Elaine felt we should continue trying to reach Delacorte, but should also continue our planning. Robie and I had met several more times during the fall, and had a growing list of ideas of what we would like to do. However, without a date or budget, there was little to do except more brainstorming.

After the initial gift from Robie and Bill had been received, Elaine seemed more interested in the project. She met with Robie several more times to talk about additional sources of funding. Fall had rapidly passed without a Before You Were Three date. Elaine suggested we plan it for the April vacation week of 1978, thus giving us four months of additional planning time and perhaps giving Delacorte more time to respond with funding.

Up to this point, Robie and I had shared all the planning for the project, but now I was beginning to feel uncomfortable because it was becoming less of a project and more of an exhibit. I was excited about the possibility of doing a week about Before You Were Three, but there remained many unanswered questions:

  • What were my and Robie's roles now? How were they to be defined and by whom?
  • If Delacorte didn't come through with any support, what would happen? (Elaine had estimated our expenses at approximately $1,000 but this had been based on a one- or two-day program, not one that would last a week.
  • Who would make decisions about publicity, design work, etc.?

(The answers to these questions would not be coming soon, and even at the end of the actual week itself, some were still unanswered).

The Before You Were Three project was becoming an exhibit, whether or not I was ready to think of it as one. Up to this time, Robie and I had considered it as sort of a tryout of ideas, entirely our own, to see how much interest there was in the subject matter. There had been no set criteria, but now, with nine days of museum programming time to fill, we would have to think more clearly and realistically about what we wanted to do.

With the unknowns of Design and Production (D&P) time available and support and budget, realistically we didn't know what could be done in terms of actual exhibit pieces. So far all of our decisions had been made as a result of brainstorming sessions—we seemed mutually more wedded to some ideas than others. I thought it would be quite unlikely that many new exhibit components would be built since this "exhibit" would only last nine days, and knowing the pressures D&P was already under, this would probably not be a priority.

Next: January 1978