24-D by R o g e r

D is for doors and my late dad.

Back in May of 2014, I participated in this ninety-minute writing class from a woman named Diane Cameron. Among many other things, she’s a freelance writer who appears in the local newspaper regularly.

The directive was to think of three doors that were important in your life. Then you write about one of them for four minutes. And by “writing,” this means not taking the pen off the paper, not editing, just letting the words take us where they would.

The first door was the outside door at 5 Gaines Street, Binghamton, NY, the house in which I lived for the first 18 years of my life. We lived in a two-family dwelling, so this was the door to the hallway. It was very thick, as I recall, painted white, with green trim.

Inside the first-floor dwelling was the living room, very tiny by today’s standards. The remarkable thing, though, was the fact that my father painted on the walls. I don’t mean he hung his paintings on the wall, but that he painted art directly ONTO the walls.

The picture above was located between two of the windows in the front of the house. I think it was a re-creation of some painting he had admired, though I couldn’t tell you what. It seems that the colors were muted oranges, and tans, and maybe greens.

On the opposite wall was a sharp contrast: a mountain scene, all blue and black and gray and white. Very forceful and bright, whereas the other painting was subtle and subdued. (The woman was dad’s mother, Agatha, who lived upstairs with her husband, and would die less than two years after this photo was taken.)

The feeling I got from the writing exercise was of some significant sadness. Those pictures are long gone, like the solar system he painted on my ceiling, or the Felix the Cat he created for my sisters’ bedroom. Other paintings and drawings and writings he created live on. So those particular creations represent a certain impermanence, not unlike life itself in general, and his life, which ended August 10, 2000, in particular.

I had thought of those paintings many times before. But only after this writing exercise did they resonate so greatly. Thanks, Diane, I think.
grandma green_Mt pic



12 thoughts on “24-D by R o g e r

  1. wow, that’s really cool, Roger! I love that your dad made your home a work of art. although the exercise got you in touch with your sadness, it also sounds like you had the necessary appreciation to engage with your father’s art on a deep and enduring level.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Roger,

    Ahhh, I love it! You’re an artist of words painting beautifully in my mind your experience, your feelings. How magical it is to visit (in my case) revisit a lost time through ones’ memories. Miss Diane’s writing exercise would be difficult for me to follow. I don’t think I could do that without stopping to make corrections causing an epic failure on the directive and class. Your dad had to be an interesting fella to use the home’s walls as his canvas and your mother a special woman to allow it. lol Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Damn, It’s Cold (ABC Wednesday) | Sharp Little Pencil

  4. Roger, you conjured some nice memories here. Is that your grandma in the snapshot? She looks like a hoot and a half.

    Funny thing… Laura wanted to paint on her walls when she was younger, but we have always rented, so that singular joy was not available to her. Maybe that’s why she is a muralist?? ha ha

    So glad to read you, my friend. I posted something “ripped from the headlines,” ragging on our weather this week. Thanks! Amy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup. Agatha Green, who died in May 1965 from a heart attack, I think. She smoked a lot. She taught me how to play canasta and was my 1st Sunday school teacher if I recall correctly.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like your dad, Roger. I love that he painted his creations on the walls. It inspires me to do the same. So does the writing exercise. To think about 3 doors, that is, and write about them. I like reading your stories about your family. Do you think you’d ever put them all together to give to the next generation?

    Liked by 1 person

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