Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sharing Footsteps

Fathers take many paths to get their children to follow in their business footsteps.

Mark Olmstead has established a money-making synergy with daughter Marla in their joint art operation. Mark is a talented if not genius painter. Marla is four, with some interest in line and form and color. Together, his "encouragement" and her "talent" produce abstract expressionist (i.e., the viewer creates his/her own story from the non-realistic buildup of paint and shapes) works that sell for thousands. An amount that keeps it from being magnetted to the refrigerator.

Whether or not she really draws on her own, the Olmstead story is a far cry from the kitty litter king, steady Eddie Lowe, who was recently remembered — he died in 1995 — for escaping his dad's clutches to make million bringing the outside into the house so kitties could do their business in relative odor-free peace. Dad went so far as to get him fired from a job so he could return to the family business, but Lowe longed to breathe free. And, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars that live on, he eventually did.

And, finally, there is the path of working together. Even happily. As do the Hoosier father-son Luke Weinmans III and IV who will be featured on TV later this month "flipping a house" for about twice what they originally paid for it. Almost every weekend is a project together, although not always such a profitable one. Says IV, "We have a pretty good working relationship."

** Is there any better father-child connection than a "pretty good working relationship"? **

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