You might remember that last fall, I took some pictures of my cousin’s daughter, Svea, when they were in town from Maryland.
Here, let me refresh your memory on Svea’s extreme cuteness:
NOW you remember, right?
Well, last week, my uncle (my cousin’s dad and Svea’s grandfather) sent the following email to my Mom. It is a really sweet story and I just had to share it (after making sure it was okay with my uncle, of course).
I thought about trying to paraphrase the story, but my uncle — like my mom and her other siblings — just has a way with words. I don’t think I can properly paraphrase his easy story-telling style, especially since the whole email sets the mood. So I’m going to leave it as-is.
The “Katie” mentioned below is me (my family calls me Katie). Also, I should note that after I took the photos of Svea last fall, my Mom gave some prints and enlargements to my cousin as a gift. But even if you can’t follow the specifics, my uncle’s email still tells a really nice story and the pictures he took make it even better…
I got sent to Paris again this spring. The meeting dates were March 17 and 18, but I took a day on either side (it was Paris, after all) to wander around and see the sights. So I ended up on Montmartre. Sacre Coeur and all that.
The weather was great. In fact, it was great all week. Sort of a story there, since I’ve been to Paris now four times in March, and every day until this visit has had horrible weather … so bad that, after accompanying me twice, Karen [his wife, my aunt] had decided she wouldn’t go anymore. And this time, first time ever, the weather was gorgeous, the whole time, from the moment I landed until I left. Finally saw “Paris in the Springtime.” Karen should be about to kill me, but she’s been great.
Anyway, it was a really nice day, and some folks from the meetings had said if I hadn’t been to
There is this square, kind of down the street and around the corner, where artists come to show their wares.
Watercolors, oils, chalk (pastels), pen and ink drawings. And it was really neat. I walked around quite a while looking at what was available and contemplating (I eventually caved) getting something for home – I got two small watercolors for Karen that were sort of Van Gogh-ish, at least in color and subject, if not in style. And …
… And, just like the guidebook had said, there were a number of artists in this square who did portraits. That is, portraits where you would sit for them and they would do it in pretty much real time, like under an hour, and you could go home with an original portrait of, well, yourself. I saw a number of people sitting and having these made.
It was pretty impressive. So then I started thinking. (Actually, I had thought about this a little bit when I read about these folks earlier that morning in the guidebook.)
I have, in my wallet, the picture of Svea that Katie took and that you gave to Rachel [my cousin] in a whole set in wallet size. Could it be possible…?
So I took out the photo, trotted up to one of the portrait artists and said, in my best French, “Est-ce que vous pouvez en faire d’un photo?” (Which is supposed to mean, “Can you make one of these from a photo?”)
And she said, “Oui.”
So I showed her the photo, which of course she instantly fell in love with. Then I hemmed and hawed for a while, walking around, wondering if I would spend the money, and finally realized that I was never going to forgive myself if I walked off that mount and flew back across a whole ocean without having this done. So we did it.
Hard at work:
The finished product:
I don’t know her name, but she did sign it. I was so pleased with what she did. I rolled it up in a tube and carried it with me on the airplane (no way was it going into checked baggage) and gave it to Rachel and Mark on Wednesday of this week. They were so pleased, and Rachel called me the next day to say I really needed to write you about this, since the only reason I even had the photo was through your gift, and since it was Katie who captured the picture in the first place.
Rachel made an interesting comment, which I hadn’t quite gotten my arms around until she pointed it out. She said that if you look at this picture, it is very definitely Svea, but that the artist in effect aged her a bit, so that the portrait is really very close to the way Svea looks now. Really remarkable!
Anyway, that’s the story. Do pass this on to Katie. But especially thank you for the photos. I opened my wallet in the hotel that morning wondering if by any chance I still had the photo there, and when I found it, I think it was settled already, before I even climbed up to this artist’s square, that if it was possible, I’d get one done.
Rachel, Mark, Karen, and especially, I, loved it.
Thank you so much. From all of us.
So … how is that for a story?
I mean, really. Wow.
What a one-of-a-kind gift my uncle gave to his daughter (and granddaughter) with a wonderful, one-of-a-kind story behind it.
And especially the fact that it really did seem to be written in the stars that he would have this done in Paris.
It makes me smile every time I read it.
See, look. I’m smiling right now.
Can’t help it.
Possibly even a little misty-eyed…