A small selection of images and words about and by fathers, with Gloucester ties. What would you add? Happy Father’s Day!
They took my father’s father from the mines
and laid him, broken, on the kitchen table,
the wake singers lifting their lines
above the water heater he had often mended.
My father always dreamed of him alive,
able to whittle an oak peg for every split thing.
all my father lost at the age of nine
enclosed his life, his air.
In my flood dream, I carry my father
piggyback–easier than a kid’s coffin–
to safety from the Susquehanna River
as light as a dollhouse, now, or violin.
–Joseph Featherstone, from his book of poems, Brace’s Cove
To be seven when a brother dies–
to have shared a room.
Her silence frightened us.
One night she rose from the table
and climbed to the top of the stairs.
We heard the small voice
singing each of the songs
from the funeral service.
The next morning in school
she announced to her class,
“I am ready for questions now.”
by Joseph Featherstone, from Brace’s Cove
full title for the Gordon Parks photograph above: “Frank Domingos kissing a vessel representing remains of a saint, during ceremonies at his father’s home, part of the tri-annual fiesta of Pentacost. The celebration–including the chosing of an Imperator, and visiting, eating, drinking, and worship in the home, culminates in a parade and blessing by the priest–originated with ancient Portugeese fisherman, drought-stricken, who prayed for assistance and received it.”
Captain’s Courageous was published in 1897. “During the winter of 1897-98 I made another trip to South Africa, and on the same boat with me were Rudyard Kipling (Rudyard was named after a place where his father and mother first met), his wife, and his father, Lockwood Kipling, the artist. They proved excellent traveling companions and we have maintained our friendly contact ever sense.” – John Hays Hammond
The Kiplings collaborated: the artist John Lockwood Kipling illustrated many of his sons’ books.
Hunt purchased a former barn and adjoining carpenter’s shop in Magnolia. “…in three weeks the old, unsightly buildings were converted into a picturesque structure with galleries on the outside, one of them ending in a seat in an old willow-tree. The carpenter shop was turned into a studio, the chief light coming from the wide-open door…The barn was two stories in height, the lower portion being occupied by the van, a phaeton and a dog-cart, as well as by stalls for two or three horses. The upper room was known as the “barracks”, and half a dozen cot-beds were arranged around the sides, as seats by day and beds by night…In a single afternoon his celebrated Gloucester Harbor was painted, and he returned to Magnolia aglow with enthusiasm. “I believe,” he exclaimed, “that I have painted a picture with light in it!…Go out into the sunshine, and try to get some of its color and light. Then come back here, and see how black we are all painting!”
Lee Kingman, Peter’s Pony, 1963, with illustrations by Fen Lasell
Winslow Homer captures the waiting and watching experienced by so many families in Gloucester. Homer’s father, Charles Savage Homer, left for extended start-ups: to California for gold, to Europe. Winslow Homer’s mother was a professional and gifted artist who raised three stellar boys solo, a lot. The Homer family remained tight knit.
Friday Nights at the A&P
By Ruthanne “Rufus” Collinson
When I was a kid
there were Friday nights to get lost in.
There was Mama
to take me shopping,
the smell of outdoors on her wool coat.
There was the A&P on Main Street,
the long spread out time
to wander the rolling floors
and smell the oranges and the coffee grinding.
There was no talking with Mama and me
She chose the food and I thought,
the long time of thinking away from Mama
in the A&P.
I watched the women
with heavy faces and deep frowns
weighing out their fruits
I thought about how bad they looked,
but I knew they didn’t want to die
because of the way they cared
about stacking the apples.
Sometimes I lost Mama and her sadness
but she would find me and take me
to the check out
where I picked up Daddy’s Pall Malls
and then stayed close to her wide sleeve
as we carried our lumpy brown bags
past Paul T. Reddy’s Dancing School.
I heard people dancing upstairs
Shadows in the window suggested music
and the end of time laid out like that.