Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fearless Females: An heirloom

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

Jimmy Bellamy portrait
I cherish this little portrait that I found in my parents' trunk while clearing out their house after my Dad died.  It was with some of my maternal grandmothers possessions including her address books and a diary.

Reflections from the curved glass make it difficult to take a photograph of the portrait, so today I unframed the picture for the first time.  I always thought it was a photograph that had been touched up, but I was surprised to find it is an original piece of artwork done in pastels.

Vivian, Jimmy, Margaret, Bill, Ruth
I believe it is a portrait of my uncle, James Roy Bellamy, who died as a result of a tragic accident when he was only five years old.  Mom was only seven when she lost her little brother but she spoke often of him long after she had lost her memory of more recent events.  Jimmy was the youngest of the Bellamy children and he is pictured at the lower left in the group photo.  My Mom, Ruth Bellamy is beside him.

Jimmy was struck by a streetcar outside the Bellamy home and it had a devastating effect on the family.   My grandfather tried to drown his grief with drink and my grandmother only displayed her feelings when she was playing the piano.  Mom remembers the music becoming louder and louder when Grandpa was late coming home.  I can't remember Granny displaying emotion much at all and I shared a room with her for many years when I was a child.

Portrait unframed
Although the picture is of a little boy who was taken from this world long before his time, it is also about my grandmother, a fearless female, who had to grit her teeth and carry on raising her other four children in spite of her tremendous loss.

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