ms. fresh fish


The story about the paintings
October 11, 2013, 7:00 am
Filed under: a & e, family

I love the internet. Why? Many obvious and well documented reasons, but here’s one little personal example of why:

My grandparents had three watercolour paintings in their home for as long as I can remember. When my grandmother, now a widow, moved from her large Wasaga Beach house to her bachelor(ette?) unit in an Ottawa retirement home, many things had to be, shall we say, relocated. These three paintings were in that category.

While we requested only a few things from the house, my Mom (sentimentally attached to, apparently, everything) used her sense of panic to store these three paintings, among other things, in our garage.

Despite our veritable stacks of art in strange little corners of the home, we have a lot of empty walls in our house. We are painfully indecisive about what to hang on them. It’s an issue. One night, I decided to deal with the issue by just using what we had and so out came the three paintings, ready to be hung.

But they just… didn’t work. At all. They were lovely paintings, truly. Delicate watercolours of farm scenes in the Georgian Bay area. Unfortunately, as indecisive as we are, delicacy is a definite no-go for us. There is almost nothing delicate about any member of our household and the art that we do hang reflects that appropriately.

On the back of the paintings was the artist’s name and address. I knew for certain from my grandmother that she had passed away, but Googled her anyway. Her unique name came up as a first hit, but it was not the artist. Rather, it was a woman seemingly about my age (fine, definitely younger), a lawyer in Toronto. Her law firm’s site had an email address, which I promptly used to ask her if she was any relation. I got an out of office message explaining that she was on maternity leave. (Well, hello parallel life!) So, obviously, I headed over to Facebook, where I found her quickly (and, to my amusement, discovered that we have a FB-friend in common). I copied the same note into the FB message and began to get a little bit excited.

By the end of the evening, the paintings’ fate had been determined.

They would be returned to this woman, who was the great niece – and namesake – of the artist. She sounded genuinely touched and excited to be on the cusp of receiving these paintings, which no doubt meant so much more to her than they ever could to anyone in my family.

A few weeks ago, her Dad happened to be in Ottawa from Vancouver. He stopped by on his way back to the airport.  I had hoped that we would be able to have a chat about his aunt, why he named his daughter for her and maybe even his aunt’s friendship with my grandparents. Alas, it was pouring rain and the taxi was waiting for him. The exchange was quick. Three meaningful paintings for a bottle of wine and a heartwarming, albeit simple and small in the grand scheme, story.

Thank you internet. It wouldn’t have happened without you. Or at least, not nearly so easily.

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2 Comments so far
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Amazing! I feel happy for these paintings, fusing their way home.

Have you ever researched any ancestry stuff? I got hooked for while when I was “sitting still” for two months. It’s so amazing. I searched Hubby’s family. I think you’d like it…

Comment by Marianna Annadanna

I have! I started to get into it and then hit some road blocks and was too lazy/ill-equipped to get past them. BUT, as luck would have it, one of my new co-workers is MAJORLY into it so I’m hoping she can teach me some stuff! But yes, you hit the nail on the head with that assessment 😉 Did you find out any fun stuff about Hubby’s family?

Comment by freshfish




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