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This untitled painting is on masonite. The background of this mixed media work is collaged with pages from pages from a fortune telling brochure from the 1940's.

This painting was the subject of a fiction competition called "Renovated Reputations" that I had on my blog. There are several stories about this character read them all here:

Here's the winning story:
"The Fortune-Teller of Poplar Street" by Marlin Bressi

"Such a peculiar little girl," her grandmother would say whenever Rosey would go outside to play. While other neighborhood children would jump rope, play hide and seek, or sell lemonade from a stand on the sidewalk, Rosy Palm would wrap herself in her grandmother's paisley shawl, put on her shower cap and tell fortunes by reading the palms of those who strolled down the quaint tree-lined thoroughfare of Poplar Street.

Rosey's fascination with palmistry developed as a result of her own misfortunes at a young age. When she was only three years old, she had yanked the tail of Mr. Stanley's ornery German Shepherd, Samson, who responded by snapping his fangs at the girl's fingers. Rosy was left with a jagged pink scar which ran down the side of her palm.

The scar fascinated the young girl, as well as the lines which zig-zagged across her palm, like highways on a flesh-colored road map. While other children were interested in games and toys, Rosey became fascinated with the human hand. She would spend entire afternoons at the town library reading about fingerprints, fingernails, and any other subject related to the hand. Her favorite, however, was palm-reading.

Rosey's grandmother was dismayed about the girl's interest in fortune-telling. "If your mother and father were still alive, they would surely not find such behavior appropriate for a young girl," Rosey's grandmother would say. Nonetheless, she allowed the girl to read palms and tell fortunes, as long as she stayed within sight of the house.

On this particular mid-summer afternoon, Rosey had taken her grandmother's folding card table and set up a fortune-telling booth on the sidewalk in front of her grandmother's house. Even though her grandmother had gone downtown to buy groceries, Rosey didn't think she would object to her borrowing the table. The passersby were more than happy to give Rosey a quarter for a palm reading, since they had a soft spot in their hearts for the little girl who had, at such a tender age, endured so much hardship.

Before long, a woman came down the street. Her natural beauty was well-concealed behind horn-rimmed glasses, and she was fashionably dressed in a floral dress and white gloves. Rosey immediately liked the woman, and hoped that she could talk her into a palm reading.
"Beautiful afternoon, isn't it?" the woman smiled as she neared Rosey and her makeshift fortune-telling booth.

"Yes, ma'am," the young girl replied. "My name is Rosey Palms, and I can tell you your fortune for a quarter."

The woman with the glasses chuckled. "That's a tempting offer, young lady. Unfortunately, I don't have much time. I'm waiting for my bus, and before it arrives I wanted to see the house where I grew up."

"You grew up on Poplar Street?" asked Rosey.

"Yes. Right there," the woman replied, pointing to a white house with cheerfully-painted red shutters.

"That's my house!" exclaimed Rosey, her mouth agape in astonishment. "I live here with my grandmother. We moved here last year, after. . . after, my parents passed away."

The woman in glasses gave Rosey a sympathetic stare. "I'm sorry to hear that, my dear," she said. "It must be terribly difficult for you."

"I suppose," replied Rosey. "But I make the best of it. So, you must have been the one who lived in this house before me and Grandma?"

The woman didn't hear the question; she was gazing vacantly at the house, which caused her expression to change into one of sadness. Rosey asked her what was wrong.

"Nothing is wrong, dear," she said. "I'm just remembering things. Things that happened long ago, yet are as fresh in my mind as if they just happened today."

Her statement, along with the hint of sadness in her voice, aroused Rosey's curiosity. "What kind of things? Did something bad happen to you when you lived in my house?"

"Something very bad, unfortunately," the woman replied. She took a moment to compose herself, and then told the young fortune-teller her story. "I was playing outside, and a man came up to me and said he was from the water company, and that he needed to come into the house and check on the water pipes in the basement. There was no one else home, so I let him inside." She paused. "He did some awful things to me." The woman's voice cracked as she recalled the horrendous experience.

"What kind of things?"

The woman in glasses shook her head, and told Rosey that she was too young to understand, and that she didn't want to frighten the young girl with her story.

"Don't be afraid, though. They caught the man and he went to jail for a very long time. I only wish I could have done things differently, and perhaps it wouldn't have happened the way it did. But I was young and naive, and didn't know any better."

"What did the man look like?" asked Rosey. She was deeply interested in hearing the rest of the woman's story. She had read many books about crime in the library, in the books about fingerprints and how they can be used to catch criminals.

"He was a tall man, in a gray suit and a black fedora. He. . ."

"What's wrong?"

The woman took off her glove in order to glance at her watch. "Nothing, dear. I just realized that my bus will be here soon and I must leave. It was very nice meeting you, Rosey," she said, extending her ungloved hand to the girl for a handshake.

Rosey shook her hand, noticing the pink jagged scar on the woman's palm. Rosey watched the woman disappear around the corner, and was still grasping the strangeness of the event when she turned around and saw a man walking toward her. He was wearing a gray suit and a black fedora.
Here's a little bit about me, Kenney Mencher, the artist.

Originally from New York, NY, Kenney Mencher earned a BA and MA in Art History from City University of New York and University of California, Davis, respectively, following which he went on to obtain a MFA in painting from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. He has taught at a number of institutions including the University of Chicago and Texas A&M University, and now teaches at Ohlone College in Fremont, California.

I have an extensive national exhibition record that includes solo and group shows. My work has been featured in newspapers, as well as the "Artist Magazine." It has also been published as cover art for four paperback noir novels and on the cover of the Laredo Philharmonic playbill, Lullaby Hearse Magazine, and the Oregon Literary Review. I maintain strong relationships with a large group of collectors in several states. I am a professional and will live up to any and all commitments I make both socially and professionally.

To learn more about me please visit my website at:

If you like something on my site please e-mail me on message me on Etsy and I'll post it on Etsy.

Rosey Palms 14"x11" framed oil and mixed media on masonite panel by Kenney Mencher


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  • Materials: oil, paint, masonite, book pages, ephemera, mixed media
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