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Or maybe not

Still working my way slowly through Norman Rockwell’s autobiography (it’s an actual paper book; I’ve kind of forgotten how to use those). Early in his career, nearly all his commissions were for kids’ magazine. He describes how he would hang around elementary schools for hours checking out children, then approach the ones he favored and asked them back to his studio.

I thought what a quaint and innocent time, until I got here:

Four ground-glass windows faced the hallway leading to the other offices. When Billy and Eddie saw the shadow of a passing person on the glass, they’d shuffle their feet and scream, “Oh, Mr Rockwell, don’t. Please. Oh, Mr Rockwell, we didn’t know you were that kind of man.” And I could see the person stop and turn his head to listen. Then Billy and Eddie would fall silent and the person would put his head close to the window so he could hear better. But Billy and Eddie always ruined their own game at this point by breaking into shouts of laughter.

Billy was Billy Paine, Rockwell’s favorite model. The illustration above was Rockwell’s very first Saturday Evening Post cover, and Paine was the model for all three boys. Here’s Billy’s sad end:

When he was thirteen Billy was climbing out of a window in the second story of Edgewood Hall with a girdle he’d stolen from a lady’s room, and lost his footing, falling to the sidewalk below. A few days later, he died

A more innocent time, my ass.

Right. Back here tomorrow, 6 sharp WBT. Dead Pool Round 58!

January 16, 2014 — 11:21 pm
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