The family portrait from years ago is torn at the corner; it has lost color and is yellowed. The details, however, of how the family lived are still clear. The father sits in a high backed chair, his legs cross at the ankles, and his hands rest on the heavily carved wooden arms. From behind the round shaped wire-rimmed glasses, he stares intently at the camera lens; no smile breaks upon his lips. He wears a dark suit, a high collared white shirt and a somber dark tie with a diagonal stripe. Beside him, on his right and slightly behind, stands his wife and mother of his children. Her dark hair is pulled back away from her face. She wears a black dress with a lace shawl draped across her arms; a single strand of pearls encircles her neck. The children are arranged in order of age and importance to the family. The boy stands beside his father apart from the mother and is dressed in a miniature jacket, he wears short pants and a tiny plaid bow tie, his hair parted and slicked back much like his father’s. The two girls, one taller than the other, are arranged in front of the mother, they are clothed in starched white dresses with satin waistbands; their hair in long curls parted on one side and brought up in a ribbon at the temple. They wear white ruffled socks and white leather shoes tied in bows. In the background a potted palm perches on a pedestal and spreads before a tapestry backdrop of vines and acanthus leaves, deep fringe trims the edges. The fabric is draped and pulled to one side to reveal a source of light, perhaps from a window obscured. The portrait is a composition of shadow and light, carefully composed to reveal luxury and achievement, the story of a family from years ago.
I joined Writers Bloc, a group of writers from Monmouth County, NJ, whose styles are as diverse as their backgrounds and interests. Here are some of my writings from our meetings.