Monday, August 31, 2009

"Aunt Mary & Cousin Chester"


Aunt Mary was my mother's sister. Her son was named Chester. Aunt Mary was married to a Polish man named Henry Kubinski.
My cousin changed his name from Chester to David and Kubinski to Evens; he didn't want to be Polish.
When Michael and I had our neon gallery in the Village we would see Chester walking with a friend. He lived in an apartment across the street. He introduced us to him one evening. His name was Howard Ashman. He told us that they just had dinner with Peggy Lee.
We thought he was a little off, but it was true. Howard was a song write and a very successful one at that. He wrote lyrics for “Little Shop of Horrors,” The Little Mermaid,” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
Chester (or David) had an argument with Howard, and Chester moved to Chicago Three months later he came back. He wasn't feeling very well. Three months after that he died from Aids.
My Aunt Mary was in the hospital herself with cancer. It was the most difficult day of my life when Aunt Lola and I had to go to the hospital to tell her he was dead. My Aunt came to the Funeral Parlor and just stared at her son, never said a word.
Being Jewish Howard couldn't understand a Christian wake at all. He was so depressed. A month after Chester's death my Aunt Mary died. Howard died a year later. He won an Academy Award for “Little Mermaid.” We watched it on TV as his sister received the Oscar for him.
What did they do that was so wrong?

"Grandma"



She was a very strong lady. I took a photo of her. she looked like this at a cousin's wedding. I said, “Grandma, I want to take your picture."
She put her hand on her his and gave me a big smile.
Through all her troubles she always managed to keep her composure.
She lived to be 87.

"My Father the Altar Boy"



This is my father. His name is Anthony.
It's from a photo in a studio taken of him as an altar boy.
He looks very angelic dressed in his cassock.
I added the Ecstasies of St Anthony behind him.
My Grandmother had 11 children. Five of them
were boys Every boy born before my father died.
She prayed to St Anthony to let him live.
Every year on his feast day June 13th
she would dress my father
as a monk and take him to the church to join in the
procession of St Anthony.
He lived to be 79 .

"Daddy's Little Girl"


This is where the story all began........

This was the first painting I did in this series,
which I call an “An Italian Story”. When I was
much younger and would go to my Grandmother's
house I noticed this photo on her mantel.
I would ask my grandmother why she was ripped
out of the photo, but she would never tell me.
I later found out that when my grandfather died
at 33 from Pneumonia she ripped herself out of
the photo.
She was so much in love with him that she just wanted to die.
My grandfather came from Ischia, a small
island next to Capri. Grandma was born here in America.
Her parents were born in Calabria and Naples.
Grandpa came to America when he was 19. He became a
good tailor in this country.
When he died he left my grandmother with 5 children,
my mother being the oldest.
My mother looks very proud standing on his knee.
She loved him dearly.
She was only 10 when my grandfather died .
She never got over his death.
Her nickname was Daddy.
She raised her sisters and brother as my Grandmother
sat in a rocking chair and mourned my grandfathers death.
The little boy on the pedestal
was my Uncle Freddie, their second child.
My mother was truly “Daddy's little Girl.”