Big-Headed People

“I love fools’ experiments. I am always making them.”

“I love fools’ experiments. I am always making them.”

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you...I could walk through my garden forever.”

“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you…I could walk through my garden forever.”

“History has remembered the kings and warriors, because they destroyed; art has remembered the people, because they created.”

“History has remembered the kings and warriors, because they destroyed; art has remembered the people, because they created.”

For more big heads: big heads

Spinster Turned Patroness of the Arts: Florence Griswold

 

Eligible Spinster

Eligible Spinster

Florence did what women fallen on hard times once did with big family houses and nothing but the memories of dead relatives for riches. She mourned the loss of her 16 year old brother, her father, her sister and mother and opened her house to boarders who happened to be artists.

I think artists like to be mothered. They never fully grow up and demand summer vacation like the rest of the children. I know this because I’ve recklessly thrown away any serious job I’ve ever had a chance at in favor of art and childhood. Even as a teacher staying in the lines never happened and syllabuses were thrown to the wind just long enough to inspire a few Peter Pans before moving on.

Florence seems to have been one of those forgotten women who saw their nurturing, quiet nature as a positive–the artists who flocked to her house for thirty years obviously appreciated her as well. She was still of a time when self sacrifice and creating cozy interior spaces for others was held as a woman’s right and calling. Understandably not every woman wanted to be Florence, but it seems every artist who met her wanted to repay her for her nurturing.

Quiet Beauty

Quiet Beauty

When in later life she grew frail and might lose the house artists of fame and renown banded together to not only save the house for her but restore it to its original beauty. A quiet life, acts of simple love and the inspiration for some of America’s great artists. Oh, what our little deeds mean to others–we may never know.

 

Almost Happy

Don't make me laugh.

Don’t make me laugh.

And here we have it, friends, the beginning of the end of dour photographic portraiture. It’s only one more sly remark from the son on the lower left that will get her sister to finally break. Mother and father are doing their best to take things seriously, but it’s just not in their natures to get worked up about things.

I imagine the father works as publisher of the small town paper (and is much admired for his fairness) in the snowy upstate part of New York. He met his wife at a cousin’s graduation picnic and they immediately hit it off–marrying the following spring in the pretty Baptist church on the hill.

While wifey wouldn’t mind the vote she prides herself on having the smartest and most mannerly children in town who hardly ever complain about chores. She likes corsets because they accentuate her shape. While her husband provides her with many modern conveniences she’s never bored with “free time.” She does read the occasional novel but mostly helps at the church when not gardening.

The children actually don’t find their parents stupid. They respect their father and admire their mother hoping in the back of their minds to have marriages just like theirs. The boy will go off to the First World War and come back a hero, marrying his high school sweetheart. The girl at the time of this photo already has a crush on the new young apprentice her father has recently hired and will marry him soon enough, move next door to her mother and have many happy times gossiping over the fence while hanging laundry and watching her children play.