Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Fantasy of Heat, 1952-58; watercolor on paper, 40 x 30 inches; Private Collection, Image from the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives
Charles Burchfield, Journals, June 28 – July 6, 1958
Sunday, June 28, 2015
June 28 – July 6 –
Vi and Art’s visit.
They arrived on Saturday night – we had them stay at a motel, much as we would rather have them here. After they were settled in, they came for a visit – (they were late in arriving due to a flat tire) Art said he was having trouble with the magnetos (?) and thought he should take his car out to be serviced, and we insisted they borrow our car.
They brought me my Father’s day gift, a record “Carmina Burana” (cantiones profanae) by Carl Orff – Art was worried for fear I might not like it – but from the very first when he played it, I realized here was one modern composer, I would like – he could write melody – much of the accompaniment was by percussion instruments – very striking effects (It was a great delight to me that not only were Vi + Art fond of the same music we were, but were introducing us to a new composer – I doubt if I would have investigated Orff on my own initiative).
They brought along also a collection of Band pieces, by Sousa and others – We liked it so well we bought it from them –
A pleasant and rewarding visit. Not much of a vacation for them for they spent much of it doing things for us (it has worried them all the time that they were not near enough to help us.)
When I brought up the idea of a new washer, Art volunteered to install it – He + Vi went over to Sears, and decided it would be the one to get (Kenmore – separate washer + dryer units) at the same time we ordered a new automatic water heater – They were unable to deliver at once, so Art used their trailer and our car and got them himself. He did most of the work himself, altho Hank took one afternoon off to help afterwards. Art said it was the first plumbing job he had done! After it was set up he showed Bertha how to run it –
He also fixed the Hi-Fi (a loose connection in the pre-amplifier) and adjusted the TV. And one day Vi scrubbed the kitchen floor and waxed it.
The children were adorable – Art so sturdy and bright and always coming to me to be loved – Shy again at first, Nancy soon made up with us again in a couple of days – Cyndy was so good, and happy – when they first arrived, Vi put her in my arms, and at my first word to her, she started to smile and coo-
We had several of what we called “musical evenings” – And after we had filled ourselves to the brim with music, we would talk, usually until very late (1:00 am) –
They left Sunday afternoon – we all agreed it would be so nice if they lived closer – and Art said he was considering asking for a transfer to Buffalo so he could help us out. It would also be better for them to be in a smaller city – there is no place for the children to play as the landlady is very fussy about her yard –
Sally got moved up to Dunkirk on July 2 –(they were supposed to move on the Friday before - + Vi went down to visit them on the day they actually were moving in – Sally was to call us on Thursday but Red called during the day to tell us of the following experience they had had the night before – They sent Steve to the grocery (only a couple of blocks away for milk and bread at 8:00 PM) It was 9:00 before they realized he had not come back. There followed thru hours of agony and suspense. Everybody in the town besides the police and firemen were searching. Red and Art went out to look, but to no avail – When they returned they found Sally and the rest of the children kneeling at the door front praying (Sally said later is was Chuckie’s idea – she was walking the floor saying, “What will we do” and Chuckie said, “If we ask god to bring him home safe, then it will be all right”) Finally a fireman spotted him walking along a street, still clutching the bread and milk. It was midnight before they got him home. Of all the boys, Steve was the one to whom such a thing should not happen – that is, he seems more introspective, less self-assured, and more shy. He had come out of the grocery, and taken the wrong turn.
They all came up for Saturday afternoon fun + visit. It was good to see them after so long a time. All the children looked so bright and happy – the boys in nylon shirts, and greyish tan shorts.
Steve had a present for me – he had saved coupons from his TV magazine route, and gotten a three-color writing ball point pen. I was deeply touched by his gift – it was something I knew he wanted himself. It is hard to define his charm. He seems like one who needs more loving than most children. But that does not explain it.
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, June 28 – July 6, 1958