Come Along with Me
'Come along with me to a place by the sea where yesterday meets today' ~ Marianne Somers
A tale of two roads
Oil on Canvas by Ellen Rice
Oil on Canvas by Ellen Rice
I was in my "printing room" a few weeks ago rummaging around for a file when something drifted down from above. It's amazing how often I find something I need that I didn't know I needed when looking for something else.
I stopped and gazed at the faded 1920s photograph in my hand. I knew from the format that it must have been taken by my doctor-Admiral grandfather early on in my grandparents' married life -- an escapee from a family album that recently came to me after my mother's death.
What drew me was its subject. Though minus the color and at a different time of year, it was very close to the scene I was painting in my studio down the hall, one I'd been painstakingly working on for seven months.
My grandparents were married in Lewes, Delaware, within weeks of my grandfather earning his medical degree. Waiting until then had been their pledge to their parents when they'd fallen in love eight years earlier. I grew up in their home and they were more like parents than my real ones. Grandfather was a talented philanthropic, off-the-charts genius who in his long career was a Presidential physician, commander of Bethesda Naval Medical Center, inventor of the portable x-ray machine, lecturer and author of textbooks about atomic medicine, among other things. Photography was a hobby that brought him pleasure.
The reverence with which he was looked upon by everyone in my family made me approach him with great awe and shyness. When available, he lovingly read bedtime stories to me, answered my countless questions about everything in the universe, picked out the constellations while star gazing on the wooden swing in the back yard at night, correctly prophesied what man would find on the moon, and played the piano like the concert pianist he almost became.
He was old school, though, and as I reached my teens he advised me that women shouldn't attempt to becoming doctors, archeologists, join the Peace Corp, the Navy or anything else I dreamed of doing to make a difference in the world. A woman's place was as a wife and mother and homemaker.
I tried that for 28 years, and as my marriage drew to a close, I prayed my way through carving my own path with what talents I had and proceeded to become a successful, self-taught, portrait artist, journalist and painter of everything that stirs my heart, among them now a tree-shaded lane that could have stepped out of a photo taken 90 some years ago.
Holding that picture (see below), I felt a deep connection to my Grandfather. Though our life paths and accomplishments are so many light years apart, at two moments in time we admired the same thing and captured it in a form others could enjoy – even almost a century later.
I hope you enjoy my painted moment, "Come Along With Me...."
Grandfather's pic from the 1920s.