My father painted two pictures the year he died, age 63. The first picture was a pen and ink of the house he grew up in; – a farmhouse built in the 1800’s. He bought me an oil painting set and told me I could support myself and my baby by becoming a great artist.
My step-mother said, “this is the only house he wanted, just a cabin in the woods!”
I recognized it. It’s the house I grew up in. There were no windows in the children’s bedroom. There was a doorway to our room but no doors or closets on the inside of the house. We weren’t allowed in the house. On hot days, my three siblings and I slept in a tent. In his memoir, he called it a bare shack. It was a pretty happy time until my parents divorced. There were lots of kids in our neighborhood.
The world we would live in, as adults, looked nothing like that picture.
I’m learning to use a complicated camera and the first time I took a picture of the oil painting it looked like this:
You can see the inside of my actual house in the reflection of the glass. My son became and architect and cut a hole in the ceiling where he added a staircase and finished the attic. There are lots of skylights. If you look out the back window you can see my garden shed. I think it’s a good picture of the past and present existing together. Now it’s too big and the taxes are crazy.
In a couple years, when my husband retires, we’ll move someplace smaller and plan to spend our days riding our bicycles and walking our dog.