We Catch What Shines

Born in 1933 in Hackensack, New Jersey, Lucille Antoinette Percier Thompson’s vivacious wit, kind spirit, and flair for drama delighted and mesmerized all who knew her. Her childhood was marked by an attraction to art, poetry, music, and travel that persisted throughout her life.

Educated at Wittenberg University in Ohio, Lucille pursued a variety of occupations until 1959, when she married H.A. Thompson, who would later become a well-known radio personality at WBT in Charlotte, NC. From there, Lucille traveled France and London, capturing their famous sites and eccentricities with her signature style and wit. From interpreting a work of high art in the low-brow medium of collage (Hi Matisse), to walking into a glamorous cabaret in “blue faded jeans,” Lucille’s unique creations breathe fresh life into ancient themes.

She also identified closely with victims of social discrimination, and much of her work reveals a pensive, thoughtful nature. Frigid Thaw probes the grief of losing a young friend to cancer, beginning with a stark image of flower heads bent “to prayer” by a sudden late freeze, and ending with the poignant line: “Each morning I check for a new disaster.”

Ordinary subjects are not exempt from the scrutiny of Lucille's piercing wit. Her poem Mid-Life Crisis wonders in jaunty rhyming couplets whether her life would be better if she had married Robert Redford or invented Wrinkle-Free cream. Rabbits populate a large portion of her artistic work, in which they appear in ironic echoes of famous works, drafted in watercolor, and treated in collage.

During her lifetime, Lucille entered and won many art and poetry competitions. Despite her public success, she was private about her writing and most of her work was nearly lost. After her death in 2009, relatives discovered that in addition to the work acclaimed during her lifetime, Lucille had left behind a trove of stunning poetry and essays. Stuffed in a common grocery bag in a corner of her home’s garage, these lusciously penetrating literary jewels remained hidden until recently.

Now discovered, Lucille’s work accomplishes what she hoped: “We catch what shines forever in all of us.”