Norman Rockwell

Do you remember Norman Rockwell? He lived from 1894 to 1978. For over 50 years, Norman Rockwell was a defining illustrator of the American middle class. He apparently did not draw the America of his memory but the America as he imagined it. His talent is beyond impressive. He was best known for his work with the Saturday Evening Post where he drew 321 covers. One of the better known covers from that magazine is titled “GI Homecoming.” This one was from May,1945, just at the end of the second world war. It is a portrait of a newly returned soldier standing in what appears to be the grubby yard of a run-down tenement typical of 1940’s Brooklyn or some other American melting pot city. There at the too small back porch, stands his loving and devoted Mom, arms outstretched in unrestrained joy, ecstatic that her little boy has returned alive from the war. You can just see Dad in the back door, newspaper in hand. His expression tells us he knows his little boy has come back much more than just a man. On the roof over that same porch, a workman beams down in quiet satisfaction to see his much missed friend. A couple of sisters are at Mom’s feet, jumping with joy. Racing towards him is little brother. He is no doubt thinking that now that my big brother is back, he will do great harm to those who have tormented him in his absence. Also racing towards him is the family dog, ready to play. But wait. Around the corner of the brick tenement is something else entirely new. Backed against the wall in a poor attempt at concealment, there “She” is. Tall, blond, girl next door pretty, she tries vainly to hide and see all at the same time. Our lass’ interest in the returning warrior is much more than a mere passing fancy. You know, we are never given the opportunity to see the soldier’s face. His back is towards us. But he stands there in the confidence born of manhood and the privations of war. We don’t know if he has yet seen her. One would like to think that he has. You know, she’s purrrdy! And she is opportunity. She is the opportunity to build his life anew after the ravages of war. She is the opportunity we all have if we are willing and able to see around the corner. Here on one hand is all the turmoil and noise of daily life resumed. On the other is new life with all its joys and expectations.

Opportunity will present itself in unlikely places at unlikely times.  Can you see “her?”

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