February 15, 1945
This image deserves its own page: Pappy put it together with real artistry, you’ll agree. Not only am I almost unbearably cute on my fourth birthday, but it’s just three and a half years, to the day, since he created the famous nude study on the table behind me. You may discern that Mammy didn’t really entrust a lighted match to my juvenile fingers: all four flames belong to the candles.

I’m standing in the living room of our home on Gramercy Avenue. Pappy had pulled the kitchen table into the doorway; then he stood in the kitchen to capture the moment with his Speed Graphic. We don’t seem to have preserved any outtakes, but I’ll bet there were some. The windows behind me, moreover, are separated by the verticals that I remembered as resembling white pillars, from the street outside. This was the room where I remembered seeing, through these windows from the entry porch, Mammy playing bridge with the neighbors.
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(Christmas tree, 1944)
Such a Life
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