Maddalena’s admonishment

There are always social changes with each new generation. These differences can be great when generations span continents as well. As the grandchild of two sets of Italian grandparents, sometimes this became very apparent to me. Despite their greatest efforts to become Americans they still retained some of their old world ideas, particularly my grandmother Maddalena.

As a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was to grab a street light pole and swing myself around it. My hair flying in the breeze, I would reach a state that felt like I was flying as my grip on the pole caused me to spin instead of just fall. I can remember clearly one day my grandmother scolding me for doing this thing out in front of her house.

“You look like a gypsy!” she scolded. I stopped for a moment and giggled, clearly this was not the effect she meant to have on my behavior, I wondered, what do gypsies look like? And then I decided, I liked looking like a gypsy! and continued swinging around that pole much to her consternation. Shortly after that, my father asked us to come back into the backyard, where probably, our gypsy-like behavior would not be seen by the neighbors.

The painting today is 9″ x 12″ and is done with watercolors. It is based on a painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau called “Crown of Flowers” of a lovely little girl (whose face I painted) with her hair just so and someone putting flowers in her hair. The painting is lovely, but the little girl looks like she’s rather swing around a street light pole.

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