Friday, February 13, 2009

Georgie Hearts Norman

If a picture wasn't going very well, I'd put a puppy in it. NORMAN ROCKWELL

When you live with an obstreperous beagle pup, you learn quickly not to leave anything valuable lying around. If it is edible, it is eaten, if it is paper, it is shredded. But sometimes we forget and leave things exposed to danger. Apparently, Georgie took a liking to the kind face on this vintage magazine, and it was spared.

My sister recently brought this forgotten treasure to me from cleaning out my mother's house. Eternal square that I am, as a kid I subscribed to Saturday Evening Post. Norman Rockwell is my favorite artist and this issue arrived shortly after his death, when I was 18. I remember weeping when I heard he had passed on.

One of the shining bonuses of being a homeschool mom is introducing my children to artists, authors and musicians of quality, so it was fun to flip through this magazine and talk about the paintings and illustrations inside, though it wasn't the first time I had aquainted them with Mr. Rockwell. It contains my favorite N.R. painting - The Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. So simple, yet so profound. If everyone would just respect others who are different than them, so much turmoil, pain, hatred and death could be avoided.

When I go to farms or little towns, I am always surprised at the discontent I find. And New York, too often, has looked across the sea toward Europe. And all of us who turn our eyes away from what we have are missing life. NORMAN ROCKWELL

There is something so poignant about his paintings. The boy going off to war, both his father and his dog sad-eyed and grieving. The mother, chin in the air, marching her children out to church while the dad sinks down in the chair and sheepishly hides behind his newspaper. The doctor holding his stethoscope to the chest of a little girl's doll. The grandma praying over a simple meal in a diner with her little grandson as others look on. The beaming family being served Thanksgiving turkey. Little slices of life. Kind of like what we try to capture in these 365 blogs.

Commonplaces never become tiresome. It is we who become tired when we cease to be curious and appreciative. NORMAN ROCKWELL

This magazine arrived in my house 30 years ago this month to remember a treasured artist who had passed away in November 1978. But Mr. Rockwell is living still in his paintings and in the ideals he presented to America of the way things should be and the way they still, blessedly, sometimes are, if we can just remember what is important in this life.


  1. That picture with the doll and the stethoscope hung in my pediatrician's office. When I did a summer program at University of Wisconsin-Madison many years ago, eternal geek that I am, I dragged a few people to see a Norman Rockwell museum and hour and a half away...and bought a souvenir!

  2. A beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  3. Well obviously Georgie knows a good thing when she sees it and wasn't going to destroy such a treasure. (LUCKILY)

    I love Norman Rockwell too.

  4. I'm glad Georgie didn't ruin the magazine - it's too much of a treasure to lose. I never heard of Norman Rockwell until I came to the US for college - my best friends grandmother was a big fan of his and prints of his were everywhere. I learned to appreciate his art, but I never knew he was such a philosopher as well.