Monday, January 18, 2010


Growing up in NJ my Dad would commute into the city for work. Part of his commute involved riding the train from Hoboken to Westwood where we lived. Often he picked up something to read on the train. I always waited to see if Dad had the latest issue of The Saturday Evening Post and if there was a Normal Rockwell painting on the cover.

Even as a young child I was fascinated with his work. I'd study every cover looking for the extra details he would include. I don't think I ever looked inside the magazine. I just enjoyed studying the cover and using my imagination to continue the story he was telling with his paintbrush.

As a child I always hated school. Most years I struggled through and by 1964 I was ready to graduate and be done with it. That was the year one of Norman Rockwell's most famous paintings appeared in Look Magazine. (By that time he had left The Saturday Evening Post for Look Magazine.) I still remember seeing a copy and feeling very sad for the little girl in the painting. It was called "The Problem We All Live With."

I saw all the anger and hatred on the television news, but this painting made an even greater impact on me. To me school was already bad enough. I couldn't even imagine going to school under these circumstances. How scared she must have been.

I love the way Rockwell caught the innocence of a child surrounded by hate. Many years ago, I ordered this print from the Norman Rockwell Museum and it now hangs in my entry way. Every morning when I come down the hall I see it. I've studied the details many times and it's a daily reminder of the horrors of hate. Now as a parent I've often wondered what it must have been like for the little girl's parents. They must have been terrified too.

Some years back I saw that little girl on Oprah. Of course, she's a grown woman today and her name is Ruby. She never actually met Norman Rockwell. The painting was based on her experience, but another child posed for Rockwell.

Today I went to You Tube to listen to Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream speech." The person that had uploaded the video said in the description that the comments area had been disabled due to hateful and racist remarks.

Over the years progress has been made, but sadly that kind of deep rooted hate still exists today. Fortunately, it exists on a smaller scale. It's been 47 years since that speech and we now have our first black American President. Today I'm hopeful that with future generations things will continue to improve.

1 comment:

  1. As long as there are thin-lipped, small-minded cowards on earth there will always be a target for their hate and wrath. If not the black people then they will head for the Chinese or the Polish or the Haitians or the Russians or the elderly or the handicapped.

    People with ugly brains always find a friend to march with to a hateful song on their quest for a target. It makes them feel powerful and less small and nasty than they already are...


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