My mom was a painter, though she's never called herself that. She took painting lessons from Frank Sapousek on Wednesday nights. In the end, he went blind, or was it deaf? Maybe he lost his legs. More likely no such thing ever happened except for in a story I made up about him. My dad likes to say painting class was mom's one night off a week. She started painting when we were babies and stopped when I was in the third grade, the year she returned to teaching.
For a while, I thought she was going to start painting again when she retired. I don't know if she told me that or whether I got that idea from studying her paintings hung throughout our 51st Street house. At some point, she gave me her tackle box of oils. She said that if she ever takes it up again, she'll buy new ones. When she retired, she did other things.
I've moved her tackle box from one house to the next. I've painted in acrylics and watercolors, media you can work with on the fly, but never oils that require a true investment of time. On our last move, I opened my mom's tackle box. It smelled like a private world all her own. I tried to decide what to do with it. It was my mom who taught me not to be sentimental about such things. I threw out all but a few brushes.