Day 38: Writing to Dead Guys

I do that sometimes. It’s a way to stay in touch. And email just floats off into the ether like they did, so who knows? It doesn’t feel any more futile than anything else I do.

I wrote to my long-dead aunt’s former ex-husband awhile ago. He’s dead too, I’m afraid, but I found his old Cheesy Maine Lighthouse Paintings website, and that included contact information.

A dead guy’s got to live, after all. Tourists buy lots of cheesy Maine lighthouse paintings.

Manfred was a bold eccentric artist in New York City back in the 1960s. My equally bold and eccentric aunt went there to become an actress. They lived in garrets and wintered in Mexico and chain-smoked and drank whiskey neat and generally horrified everyone when they came home to visit.

We kids weren’t horrified. All that wicked glamor was fascinating. Aunt Joan used to urge me to take the bus down to the city to spend summer vacations with her. My parents smiled those tight “you will over my dead body” smiles that children understand so well.

In retrospect, were I the parent, I‘d not even have managed a smile.

After the usual pleasantries – dead guys like to know who you are and why they used to care – I asked him about the painting pictured above. He’d shipped it to my father decades ago, with a bunch of others to store rolled up under the eaves of the attic. This one was a gift, as payment. It was to fund my education.

It didn’t.

The thought is never really what counts, is it?

So I didn’t ask Manfred what it’s like on the other side or what the meaning of life turns out to be. I want to know whose boobs those are. They certainly weren’t Joan’s.

3 thoughts on “Day 38: Writing to Dead Guys

  1. Beth

    What a fun family history you have. I just have a couple of stay at home, whiskey drinking, chain smoking, spinster aunts.

    • I always know I’m on dangerous ground when something I do reminds the family of Aunt Joan :-)

  2. What a great story! Any commodity is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it, or its possessor is willing to ask.

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