"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Andrew Wyeth turns 90 today.

I've known his work all my life. And his father's work--in our household were lots of classic children's books with N.C. Wyeth illustrations. And his son Jamie's work.

As an adult, I've viewed Wyeth's work in the museums of the world. And attended special exhibitions from Rockland, Maine to Manchester, New Hampshire to Madison, Georgia.

He's by no means my favourite artist. But his artistry fascinates me.

Christina's World, his iconic painting, has the contradictory capacity to depress and inspire me.

When we toured the site of this painting, I couldn't resist a re-creation.

To our family, the Olson House (technically the Hathorn-Olson House) is more than a building in a famous painting.

My husband can boast a distant (but to us, meaningful) connection to the location. The original settlers on the property were Hathornes from Danvers/Salem, Massachusetts. (Though they apparently lost that "e" on their voyage Down East). These Hathorns would have been blood relatives to the Chap--though not ancestors. Back in the 17th century, and subsequently, Hathornes and Porters married each other.

Historical note: The Porters and Hathornes were never directly targeted in the Witch Trials that occurred in Salem Village, now Danvers. They were perhaps protected and insulated by their wealth and property, but surely it didn't hurt that John Hathorne, the "hanging judge," was an in-law! Brothers Israel Porter and Joseph Porter must've maintained a positive relationship with the magisterial brother of their Hathorne wives, sisters Anna and Elizabeth.

The Porters continued living in Salem--till the 1960's.

The adventurous group of Hathorns that migrated to Mid-Coast Maine to build the house that Christina's World later made famous weren't the only ones who changed the spelling of their name. Nathaniel, the Great American Author, stuck a "w" in it to make it Hawthorne.

To the Great American Artist, Andrew Wyeth, happy 90th birthday!

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