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Dear Redhead,

My Grandmother passed away a year and a half ago, and the last time I visited home, my Mom surprised me with a fantastic gift from her estate – her old art portfolio!  My jaw dropped and the minute I arrived home, I covered my living room with their fantastically geometric shapes and bold colors.  The pieces travel through eras – from when she was a teenager in the 1930s to when she was middle-aged in the 1950s.  Most are acrylic on paper, with a few pastels and colored pencils scattered in, and are just so telling of the time in which they were created.  There is an art deco style badminton player, fishing villages, a WWII nurse, and a drawing of the African continent when Italian Somalia and French West Africa were still recognized country names.

Pastel Self Portrait

Her self portrait in pastel on paper

Self Portrait

Self portrait close-up

Paintings

Art deco badminton player

Art deco badminton player

WWII Nurse

WWII Nurse

She had bright red hair, a penchant for posing all dolled up, and was never at a loss for stories about would-be male suitors.  In fact, my favorite story of hers is about the afternoon that one of those smitten guys came into the soda shoppe where she worked and tipped her a quarter underneath of a full, overturned glass of water.  I still haven’t figured out how he managed that little magic trick!  And how she managed to get that tip.  She also received many a lovelorn letter from men even after she was engaged to my Grandfather, an engineer and veteran WWII medic nicknamed “Butch.”  Here’s an unrequited letter from a poor sap and Woodcock College student who just wouldn’t give up ;)

1950s Letter

Dear Redhead,

1940s Love Letter

1946

1950s Love Letter

Yours, Danny

xoxo!

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