A True Story
On a Friday night in 1960, Ernest and Hilda Low, while vacationing on St. Thomas, left their room of the Hilton Hotel and headed for the lobby. When they arrived, and as Ernest naturally scanned the lobby, something caught his eye, a simple, yet incredible painting of a young island boy. One of several paintings being displayed as part of a one-man art exhibit, by an artist named Larry Gluck.
Ernest immediately knew that he had to have the painting for his own. He approached a young woman standing nearby the exhibit and inquired about the painting of the young boy. The woman, who turned out to be the artist’s wife Sheila, explained to Ernest that the particular painting was “not for sale”. There were of course many other paintings by the artist that Ernest could purchase, but none would suffice. Ernest had to have the painting that captivated his attention, the un-signed, and un-titled painting of the island boy. He insisted, but Sheila would not change her mind.
Ernest and Hilda then sought out the artist himself to plead with him directly, to maybe, hopefully persuade him to reconsider the sale of the painting. Larry finally agreed and the beaming couple returned to their Connecticut home with the painting.
Through the years that followed, the painting became the centerpiece in their home, displayed prominently over the mantle. They related the story of how they had acquired the painting, over and over again, to friends and family alike, a story which made the painting even more treasured. While the Low’s held the same love for the painting as the day they bought it, their only regret was that it was never signed, nor did they know the title.
The once inseparable couple are no longer together – separated by the one and only thing that could tear them apart. They honored their vow of marriage until Hilda passed in 1999. At 87, Ernest is in ailing health. He lives alone in an assisted living apartment – without Hilda by his side. When his son Steve asked Ernest what could be brought from his home that might make him more comfortable, Ernest’s only request was the painting, the painting that reminded him of a beautiful time, a time when he and Hilda were together.
Steve, having heard the story behind the painting throughout his childhood, wondered whether the artist was still alive, wondered if there may be a chance that he could find out the name of the painting and perhaps have it signed. Steve searched the internet hoping to find some connection, some avenue to the artist. Lo and behold, he found him. He called immediately and related the story he had heard so many times as a child, the story of the painting. He desperately hoped that he could get the painting that had become one of his father’s greatest treasures signed by the artist who created it.
The painting arrived in May, tightly pressed and wrapped between 2 wood panels. To see it, to marvel in it’s simplicity, yet to sense the warmth of the day and serenity of the moment that had been captured in the painting was indeed an exciting and wonderful treat. Within a week, the painting was returned, newly matted and of course signed. The young island boy had finally received a name – “Daydreamer”.
One month later, Larry received a letter from Ernest. In it he wrote:
Steve called me last Saturday and told me the painting had arrived.
I’m now 87 and hope to see “Daydreamer” for a long time. But now, I start to think about the future. I have three granddaughters. I won’t want to give “Daydreamer” to Steve. I want it to go to one of my granddaughters – but which one? I love them equally. For me that becomes a problem. So what to do? Have 2 copies made? Have a drawing for the original? Problems! Problems! Problems! Chances are, I’ll never know, but “daydreamer” will stay in the family – I hope.
Thank you for letting Hilda and me have it. I hope it will pass from generation to generation. A “history of daydreamers”
Time and again, as Ernest sees the painting, he is returned to that day on St. Thomas where he and Hilda are once again together, inseparable, in love. After 41 years, the painting of the young island boy is finally complete. There will no longer be a mystery, only the story. Who could have imagined the power of art?