The hottest day yet – temperature at 93 at mid-afternoon – very hazy, “high” clouds glittering white against the hot blue zenith –
Discovered early morning that the cortisone spray was empty – this meant I had to go in to Dr. A’s office and get a new one –
The city from the Thruway like a dream world induced by haze and industrial dust.
Mart over about 10:30 with Peggy & Tom – Peggy to help Bertha and Tom to mow the lawn –
Little ambition – in and out of the studio – Made a final (I hope!) correction on the drawing of the hill in Old August Hill”
We ate under the willow-tree again – a happy time with the youngsters – scarcely had he finished eating than Tom was “Tarzaning” on the rope in the willow-tree, and Peggy followed soon after.
When Tom addressed any of us, he had picked up somewhere a new form of salutation – it was “grandfather o’ mine” grandmother o’ mine” sister o’ mine” etc –
In the afternoon after Tom had finished the lawn and some weeding, he came in the studio, obviously wanting to chat and look around. As I was in no mood for working – I let him stay – he has to explore the attic and was always exclaiming over something or other –
Once something was said about the 1917 portion of the Winter Afternoon hanging on the wall “really” he said “your 1917 pictures are pretty crumby aren’t they? Not like this masterpiece here” pointing to the “Old August Hill” on the easel.
My “fame” seems to fascinate him, although I wish he could forget that phase of my life “you’re famous, aren’t you” with embarrassing directness – “You’re in encyclopedias and dictionaries.” Mostly however his attitude towards me is one of free and easy comradeship, which is the way I want it. For example one day, when I had forgotten to zip up my trousers he stare at me saying casually “gramps, you’d better lock the farm door before the horse gets out”
Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to have known a father and grandfather – I could not have been much older than 3 or 4 the last time I saw my father; and as for my grandfather, I remember him as a white haired – and – bearded old man, who lived out the years I knew him, as an almost helpless invalid with a brain concussion caused by being hit by a base-ball
However, after all, what one has in life, if it is all right. Seems the proper thing – I had a dependable Big Brother Jim, and wonderful mother who made us forget we were fatherless. In fact the fathers of the boys I played with made me feel I was lucky not to have one.
About 3:00 Tom became tired; he would have gone home on the bus, but I took him in the car.
Evening music – Brahms Hungarian Dances, Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances – Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for strings – Borodin’s Nocturne from his quartet – Bonber’s Adagio for strings & Grunslaves by Vanlour - Wilhems
Charles E Burchfield, Journals, August 31, 1962
More at www.BurchfieldPenney.org