In 1979 I moved to Iowa City, Iowa, with only a backpack and a portfolio. Later my mother sent me my old Camp Hochelaga footlocker which I had packed with my winter clothes before I left home. My mother died a few years later. The footlocker went on to house the linoleum blocks I used to illustrate my letterpress books. Back in the days when our children were small and we were cramped for space, I stored it in our garage. Camp footlockers were not built to last forever. Before mine was emptied and hauled to the dump, I ripped off the return address label my mother had used decades ago. It's what I saved. A reminder of when 37 Point View Drive, Troy, New York, was my home, when I could still count on my mother being there.
From Now I am Three, an unpublished illustrated manuscript.
The image has faded over the years. In truth, it was blurry to begin with. Of the many small photos my father took while he was a soldier during World War Two, this one remains my favorite. In its more vivid, sharper days, I could see the girl's features and the steam rising from the cup behind the toast on the table. I have known this nameless girl most of my adult life, but only in the last few years have I thought of her as a child of war, a witness to the most cruel actions of a brutal humanity. Maybe that's why the peacefulness of this everyday moment of morning sunlight and breakfast toast grabs at my heart.
My parents, Stanley and Lillian. Taken in Dayton Ohio, sometime before I was born.
The Daily Palette