Before my aunt Dolores died a few years ago, she left a big box of her husband's, my uncle George's, things to me--mostly old art supplies, boxes and boxes of pastels, dried up oil paints, beautiful sable brushes, a small easel, art books, and lots of ancient stick charcoal.
I remember him being so unlike my own father, rather like Humphrey Bogart, dashing and smelling of whiskey. I only half remember when they married, in my earliest childhood. Each was a divorcee--he was my aunt's fourth husband.
They lived in a beautiful 1950s house with old Heywood Wakefield furniture and my uncle's paintings on the walls, mostly swamp scenes. He was a dedicated painter, a sportsman, a horticulturalist, a scientist--a renaissance man to my eyes.
My aunt knew that I had once painted, and so I suppose she wanted me to have this. It was pretty clear that she was "deacquisitioning", so to speak. After his (sudden) death, she herself died within the year.
Rifling through his effects was spooky, but fascinating. I found his college report cards, and term papers, childhood toys and personal mementos. I told my mother that this should really go to his daughter and granddaughter, but when offered to them, they said they didn't want any of it. It was hard for me to understand, since I would love to have *anything* from any of my grandparents.
One of the things found was this little calendar from 1946, on which he (as a high school student?) had sketched. Loving naked women as I do, I keep the calendar on my kitchen wall and think of him every day.