Monday, January 17, 2011

My Father in Graphite

If you've been nosing around Just Sayin' for any length of time, you've seen this photo before. It's of my father as a soldier during World War II. We don't know much about it—exactly when it was taken or where or under what circumstances. I've heard it was taken in some kind of photo booth with an artificial background, and I'm sure it wasn't official because I assume the cigarette would not have been part of the uniform.

I have always loved this picture because it is so clearly from another era. As a child of the '70s, with The Brady Bunch setting the tone and "Women's Lib" and space travel in the news, I would go home from school every day to parents anchored in the 1940s. That's not to say they weren't in tune with current events, but they were different from all the other parents I knew. Once when I was in eighth grade, my social studies teacher asked for a show of hands of all the kids with grandfathers who fought in World War II. I spoke up and said my father fought in the war, and everyone in the room looked at me as if I were an oddity. I suppose this connection to older decades led to my love for old movies and my appreciation for history.

I'm showing you this picture again because we revived it recently. Eustacia came home from college for her Christmas break and set out to create a Christmas gift for her aunt. We draw names in our family, and she had drawn the name of one of my sisters. Eustacia wanted to draw or paint something, and I suggested she draw the image from this photo. She didn't have time to create the background in great detail, so she started with a black and gray watercolor wash and then added the graphite drawing. Husband and I would go watch a movie or something and come back in the room to find the face drawn. Or we'd go to the store and come back and find a sleeve or shirt pocket in place. It was a fascinating process to observe, and I think the finished piece is just beautiful.

Eustacia presented it to her aunt for Christmas, and the whole family was delighted. So, hooray for Eustacia's artistic talent, and hooray again for perpetuating family history.


dive said...

Hooray indeed, Robyn. Your daughters are so astonishingly talented. You must be very proud.

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