The World of Paul (1912-2013 )

Paul J. Hefti playing his Casio keyboard in his La Crosse living room, 2002
We visited Paul Hefti once at Meadow Wood Assisted Living after he left his lifetime home at 515 Adams Street in La Crosse, Wisconsin in 2004. His sculpture garden made of pop bottle whirligigs and red brick house were razed by city order. Still, he managed to transplant the atmosphere to the bland institutional environment of the nursing home. He gave us a tour using a nifty black walker and it was much like those he'd given us at his house. He highlighted recent sculptural works hung about the place peppering his commentary with limericks and giggles. We'd attempted visiting him at his house in the summer of 2004 after we'd completed work on our film and book project documenting him and three other older Wisconsin men titled, One Million Years is Three Seconds. It happened to be the last morning he lived at his old house. The soil was still damp from his watering his geraniums for the last time on that hot summer day. We met his neighbor and friend Susan about then and she kept us posted on how Paul was doing via an annual holiday card. He lived to be a hundred and had commented to us even way back when he was 90 that "Boy, that time goes fast. It seems like I just started." His art like all of life was ephemeral.

 One Million Years is Three Seconds 
Paul Hefti excerpt (2008)