Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Here's a little fictional beginning; add to it in the comments if you'd like:

She kicked off one shoe and used her toe to scratch her shin. End of one itch, beginning of the next. She was itching to know what was in the letter in her hand. It was rare now to receive a physical letter. All the gestures of letter opening that previous generations knew had now returned to the non-habitual. Tearing just the corner of the top, enough to wiggle index finger into the hole and use the length of it to rip jaggedly upward, opening a toothy mouth of paper, the finger still tingling with sensation. The other shoe off without notice, a butterscotch crinkled open and clicking sweetly against back teeth, she sat by the window and tilted the pages to catch the light, as her grandmother must have done.


Three oil portraits I've done of other people's grandmothers over the years.


A friend was sitting with Young People. One said, "Remember in Elementary School when we had those weird floppy disks?" My friend told them that when she was in Grammar School, lunch sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper, not in plastic bags, not even in wax paper bags. Every mother had her own style of wrapping. The Young People looked at her silently for a moment, and then resumed their conversation.


Here are two portraits of my grandmother, made 27 years ago, both about the size of a bedsheet: In Her Garden, and Putting On Her Face.


The photo I worked from:


Here's a better photo of her from her younger days:

A cloth portrait of my grandfather made around the same time, 1980? from a photo of him on the boardwalk in Atlantic City sometime early in the last century:

And my best-friend-growing-up Claire's Gramma, with Claire's cat and dog, from a few years later, also bed-sheet sized: