At Home is where the comfort zone should be. Full of wonderful times and making new memories. Some memories come from bad circumstances but as a result of those times, they will hopefully bring good thoughts eventually. Such is the case with this watercolor painting that hangs on the wall in my workroom. This particular watercolor used to hang in my grandparents’ (father’s parents) home in San Francisco. In fact, it was painted at the spot where their home was located on Hyde Street. It is a popular spot for painters because it overlooks Ghirardelli Square and Alcatraz can be seen clearly along with the style of times.
When I look at this painting I am drawn to it’s history. The artist my grandparents bought it from at the time was a “starving artist”. They were very giving people and bought many paintings that way to decorate their home in order to help the artists and this simple watercolor was in their lives for many years. Then as what happens with life, death came upon them and it was transferred over to my father as an inheritance. Then again, when my father died it was left to my mother and that is where it should have never stayed.
My mother was a story all in herself. It isn’t pretty from my view, but in a little explanation she was jealous & angry, and a not so great mother to me. When she died she had her sister and her husband take over the estate and they, in turn, put my father’s side and history up for grabs at an auction where I had to buy a few articles back in order to keep some ancestry. None, absolutely none of the items were from her side of the family but her sister and husband made money and took articles through the passage of executor. The Chamberlain/Short items were sold off with history to who knows who because of a vindictive train of selfish thoughts from a few. And unfortunately, that is the truth.
In the long run, years ago, I turned my back on family with no regrets because it became a mess. But being away from them has given me time to reflect on my ancestry from the Short/Chamberlain and in particular, her side McMillan/Burgess since she didn’t know that much about them and me being me, I wanted to complete “Me”.
So I ventured on a trip down ancestry lane years ago and have made many discoveries on my maternal side which are now verified going as far back as the 1400’s including the fact her father was not of Irish blood but of Scottish blood instead. I have touched base with many decedents and cousins alike and it has been a homecoming for me.
Everytime I look at that painting I look at it’s memories in my eyes like this: It is a memory of laughter from my Grandmother Short in her home in San Francisco. It is a memory of a snort and a growl from my Grandfather Short. It is a memory of that cable car and hearing its bell clanging. It is a memory of looking out the telescope that was permanently planted in the living room there. It is a memory of a snicker from Dad and a loving memory for himself when he got to hang the painting in his home when his parents died. It was his memory as he grew up with it. It is a memory of dinners with silverware given to my Great Great Great Grandfather Chamberlain by a society in S. F. where the Governor attended just for him. It is a memory of these paintings that I looked at during boring conversations that saved me from being a disgrace at the table. It is a memory of my mother’s worried look that one of us kids was going to embarrass her. It is and has a memory of my life now and I smile every time I look at it, every single day with a new memory of my life and a recall of the past.
It is Home now.
Ironic, but in the long run, my mother did make me happy. By simply selling off my father’s belongings, she made me realize how she never could sell my love for the past away and who I am and what I am made of.
I am At Home with life and am giving thanks to my ancestors and this simple painting of reminding me that my memories and my life turned out pretty damn good and I am pretty proud of being a McMillan, Burgess & Chamberlain, Short. It’s a pretty awesome lineage past a certain time.
Shelter in and stay healthy.
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #94: At home