malcolm little recollections
Sarah Marshall Aldridge (June, 2014):
My grandfather was a gifted artist, who worked for the Chicago Tribune’s art department for years. He was a Renaissance man, who had his own dark room in the basement for developing black-and-white photos, made his own pastels and silk-screened Christmas cards each year. He also came in very handy when my school assignments called for an artistic touch.
After taking a trip to Newburyport, MA, to locate the homes where he had lived as a child, I realized the tough life he had. His father was a shoe factory worker. At one point the family moved to Revere, MA, and grandpa worked in the NECCO candy factory when he was still a child. No wonder he always had a roll of those colored wafers near the TV set in Western Springs. I liked to slip a few of the licorice ones out of the pack and hold them on my tongue.
He was an avid reader and lifelong subscription holder of The New Yorker. In the summer, you can bet WGN was on if the Cubs were in town. Grandpa had a wicked sense of humor, once taking a photo of my mother’s rear end as she bathed us kids in the bathtub in Western Springs. He also made a series of home movies, including a “murder mystery,” we couldn’t wait to see on those Sunday nights when we had candlelight dinners at his home.
Thanks to my grandpa, there are scads of photos carefully catalogued with some names and even more dates, carefully written with the trademark mechanical pencil he had clipped to his shirt pocket.
I remember the smell of his pipe tobacco, the boom of his voice when he laughed or exclaimed, “Good Night!” and the beauty of all those scenes of Sanibel Island in Florida, framed and hung on the walls, tributes to the time he and my grandma got away from it all in November each year.