Almost three years ago we had a devastating fire that destroyed our home and consumed our contents. I often refer to that day as “the event” because I still have a hard time with the word fire, which incidentally is more common that most people would give notice to. I notice it. Every song it’s in. Every phrase that refers to it. Every news story that shows its destructive powers. I relive “the event” just about every day. And honestly, I think I’m doing ok. But some days are harder than others.
My husband and I have come to terms with the fact that we lost just about every material item that we owned. Very little was salvaged. Fortunately, we were able to save our wedding album and some other boxes of pictures and videos. Unfortunately, there were many other irreplaceable items. Most days I try not to think about it. Today is not one of those days. Today, I miss our artwork.
Artwork is special. It’s personal. It often represents events or emotions that are deeper than the canvas measures and more vibrant that the colors upon it.
As I sit, looking around at my in law’s artwork, I am almost transported back to our home, staring at our own personal pieces of art. I miss them. I am flooded with memories and consumed with emotions.
The Linda Hartough of the 18th Hole at Harbourtown hung above our fireplace. We got engaged on that green 7 1/2 years ago. I remember that magical night like it was just a moment ago.
The (copy of the) Monet that I got for my husband’s 30th birthday. I surprised him with an entire day in NYC living out the new Thomas Crown Affair. He woke up to his suit hanging on the wall with a bowler hat and a riddle to our first destination. After sailing around the harbor, he received his next clue in the riddle that led us to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. His next clue brought us to dinner at Cipriani’s on 59th. After dinner I gave him his final clue as to the whereabouts of the painting. It hung in our bedroom above his dresser.
Above my dresser hung the painting I painted for him when we were first moving to New Jersey from northern Virginia. It wasn’t my favorite artwork. It wasn’t my best artwork. But he loved that painting. In the middle I had inscribed a quote from our song, Moondance. “Can I just have one more moon dance with you, my love?” I didn’t know it at the time that I had painted it, but three years later we were married under a blue moon.
Our dining room boasted another Linda Hartough of the 7th Hole at Pebble Beach. It reminded me of my grandparents. I believe they once told a story about playing a round there, though they were not golfers. It hung gloriously next to their Shabbat table where I spent most Friday nights of my childhood with my uncles, aunts and cousins. Memories too numerous to recount. I can still hear the stories, songs and jokes, “Hark! I hear the cry of cannons!”
I know that in time we will rebuild our own collection. I know that we have made and will continue to make new memories.
Last winter I had the pleasure of making more paintings with our children. They hang above K-Mad’s bed and are filled with memories, resilience, and love.
Above our bed hangs a painting I had commissioned for Brian before “the event.” It was to hang in our living room. Hopefully, it will someday. But for today, I just miss our artwork.