The memory is dim, like the fuzzy signal of an old analog TV set. The kind you would try and rotate the antenna to get it clear.
I’m maybe 5? 7? and enter the Baltimore apartment of a close friend of my grandmother. This friend of hers is short for an adult and speaks a bit with a European accent. Or maybe I imagine the accent.
Rather than the sparse, neat, open living room of my grandmother’s apartment, this one everywhere is filled with easels, canvases of partly finished paintings, tubes, and palettes, and brushes everywhere.
Her living room, her every room, is a artist studio. The thing about the visit is Mrs Hammer said I could pick out ant painting from a pile she pointed to, one I could keep. I don’t remember the ones I looked t, but do remember the one I picked, because I still have it.
It’s an abstract rendering of a shipyard, it’s traveled with me from Baltimore to Arizona and now onto Saskatchewan, where I unpacked Mrs. Hammer’s paintings yesterday.
I find another one, this was I recall, one I found in my Mom’s house when we cleaned it out in 2011, an impressionistic one of flowers, with brush strokes thick, textured, jutting out from the canvas.
I’m intrigued as her signature is different here:
This was a bit reminded to me yesterday, because a reminder came via the Google calendar that bears events that once lived on Mom’s paper calendar that yesterday marked Mrs. Hammer’s birthday, 1916.
I know nothing more of this woman, this artist who lived in her apartment studio, and painted, painted, painted. Google gives nothing more than some genealogy links for people likely not the same, or ones for old scanned newspapers I have to pay a fee to see full sized images. Yay internet, not.
All I have is the dim memory… and two special paintings. I guess that’s enough.