Friday September 09th 2022, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Thirty-eight years later, I think I finally got my answer.

My dad was an art dealer and spent his career trying to help talented French artists find an international audience. I grew up with paintings on the walls and tapestries that took a month per square yard to create. Our living room’s cathedral ceiling and wall of windows looking out on the woods made for the perfect lighting in beautiful scenery.

When my husband and I bought our first house, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but something was missing, like it wasn’t quite a real home yet–despite the fact that we had picked out the model and the lot and watched it being built in a then-boom town in New Hampshire and every thing in it was something we had chosen.

Our second child was born seven months later.

My folks drove up from Maryland to help out for a week.

And then.

Dad opened the big trunk of their car and started pulling out paintings, thoroughly enjoying how surprised and thrilled I was. THAT’S what it had been missing! Art on the walls! Now it could finally feel like home!

One of those paintings had always been a little bit of a mystery to me and now it was mine. Oh, that’s Deer Island, Maine, I was told, like that should settle it.

Okay–but why? I’ve long wondered. Why did someone travel way out there to paint that out in the middle of absolutely nowhere?

The Washington Post just published one of their reporters’ traveling to meet the people and place of the favorite haunt of his favorite author a little more personally.

Now, when I was maybe ten I got a thick heavy book for Christmas full of horse stories. My kind of thing at the time. The further you got into it, though, the darker a turn the stories took. John Steinbeck’s “The Red Pony” is not something I’d give a ten year old, but it was in there.

And then in high school I read “The Pearl.”

That was it. I was done with Steinbeck.

So I was surprised to read that not only was he a favorite writer of this Post reporter, but that rereading him inspired the guy to pack a bag and go learn for himself what the people and place were like where his hero began his “Travels With Charlie” from.

Deer Island, Maine.

The painter was a Steinbeck fan. Clearly.

And I feel like a decades-long mystery has been solved, and not only that, I actually am looking forward to reading that Steinbeck book. Who knew.

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Oh, I love to have things up on the walls! My parents always did, and it makes it feel like home to me. And it’s so individual, seeing what people choose to put up, so I love to visit people and see what’s on their walls.

Comment by ccr in MA 09.10.22 @ 2:59 pm

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