Friday, May 19, 2017
Memories of Things that Last
This morning when I first woke up I looked across the bedroom, as I always do, and saw this picture. And though I see this picture every morning and every night before sleep, this morning it suddenly took on a new resonance inside of me. And what I realized was that resonance is the memory that surrounds it.
I was twelve years old, and it was a Saturday. I know because I had just gotten my allowance, and I always got my allowance on Saturday. This was in the 1950s, and my weekly allowance was a dollar. That actually was a respectable allowance in those days. I never let money burn a hole in my pocket, so I hopped on the bus with a good friend, and went downtown to spend some of my allowance. A dollar went a much further back then.
Once downtown, my friend and I began our spending spree in Weinstock's Department Store. I noticed that there was a sign up on the Mezzanine that said ART SALE, so we took the escalator up and stepped into a magical realm of Art. MY heart burst open being in the presence of so much beauty. Then, as I stood there mesmerized, my eyes fell on this picture that was on the top of stack of unframed prints. I was a dancer, and I loved horses, so, of course, it stole my heart. I wanted it, but I was quite sure that little girls couldn't buy art. So, I left it behind and began looking at the other art. But everything else paled in comparison to "my picture" So, I started thinking of ways that I might convince my parents to buy it for me.
It was called "After the Performance" and to make it even more desirable to my romantic twelve-year-old, the artist's name was Marcel Vertes. A French painter. That was just the best. I just had to have it. But how?
Then my friend pointed to a sign right above the stack. "Special - Art Prints $1.00." My heart leapt. Oh, my goodness, I could have it. I could buy my very own piece of art. And so I did. I proudly pulled out my dollar and paid the clerk, who rolled it up very carefully and put it in a fancy sleeve.
I took it home and put it up on my bedroom wall with scotch tape. And I woke up every morning and saw it, and my heart was so happy. The only problem was that the scotch tape didn't hold such a large heavy print, so I had to keep putting it back up, and finally after a few months I gave up. I put it under my bed, and just sort of forgot about it.
But it wouldn't stay under my bed for long. On my thirteenth birthday, my Uncle Joe, who was my adopted grandfather, and who was a painter, surprised me with my picture framed in it's beautiful gold gilt frame. He told me that my love of art deserved to be honored. He was the most special person in my life. We often painted together in his backyard. So, this was a perfect gift from him for my budding artist.
My Uncle Joe died seven months later. My first great loss.
So, each morning now, in 2017 when I wake up and see the picture I don't just see a picture that makes me happy. I live that magical day that I spent my own money to buy it, and the day my Uncle Joe framed her, and the day I lost him.
It is these memories that we carry all our lives that make us rich.
P.S. I just googled this picture and the print is selling today for $100.00.
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