exqui-005.jpg posted Wednesday June 1, 2005
(The glaciated Mexican volcanos Popocatepl  and  Iztaccihuatl  in the background of the photo (probably a studio backdrop)

This photograph shows Manfred's mom, Kelly Sue Exquisite, an itinerant
school teacher, with two of her students, Pearl and Myra.

Although she married into the family, Kelly Sue seemed to participate in
the essential family nature even more thoroughly than her husband, Billy,
an Exquisite by blood. (Billy in fact was always rather stodgy. This
element of his character may have come from rattling around in the back of
a potato wagon for most of his childhood.)

Kelly Sue was adventurous, imaginative, and extraordinarily unsettled for
a young mother at that time. School in Tell City was held randomly at
various times during the year and would often come to an abrupt halt after
Teacher assigned a vast quantity of homework and then disappeared for
weeks at a time. While teaching, she affected the somewhat prissy
hairstyle and manner of dress displayed in this photograph, but I think
her real needs are nevertheless betrayed here. Note the somewhat demonic
look in her eyes, the strictly controlled position of her feet, and the
tight grip she has on a large quantity of vegetation. Note as well that
she does not place her hands anywhere on the persons of her students; this
type of gentle gesture would represent an affectionate bonding that was
not part of her relational repertoire.

In her "other" life, Kelly Sue was known as Kiku San and lived in New York
City with young Manfred and the seven Piccirilli brothers. (This double
life explains why both Pearl and Little Lulu felt they had known Manfred
"all their lives.") While we're not entirely sure of her activities during
that time, we do know that the Piccirilli brothers, Ferruccio, Furio,
Masaniello, Orazio, Getulio, Attilio, and Max, were ingenious craftsmen
and artists in many media, as well as being extremely well traveled. In
order to soothe Kiku's wanderlust, and keep her happy with them for as
long as possible, they crafted numerous "worlds" for her pleasure,
consisting of backdrops, costumes, furniture, and even small huts in the
forest, complete with faux flora and fauna recreating many of the places
they had known. (They tried to build a working glaciated volcano in a tiny
vacant lot, but this particular experiment was unsuccessful.) Kiku San
would pack portions of these environments for traveling, never more than
one or two at a time, and make use of them with her students back in
Indiana for educational purposes. You can see Pearl's and Myra's delight
at being able to pose, if only just for an afternoon, as Mexican