A mother’s vanishing: A secret that haunted my family for generations, hiding in plain sight

Elizabeth Kadetsky in Salon:

When I was a kid, I adored going over to my grandmother’s house and exploring her art room. To reach it, I wound past my grandmother’s collections of things in the living room and hall, most in service of her art projects. There was always a collage or bead curtain in the making, often butting up against fruits, vegetables and flowers arranged before still life canvases in progress.

She was a wonderful painter, and her many still lives and urban landscapes with her signature, Solange, adorned the room and the house. Inspired by her and having supposedly “inherited” her talent, I attended art classes at the Art Students League of New York and at the School of Visual Arts when I was in middle and high school, and declared art as my major when I got to college.

I suppose many grandchildren believe that they are the favorite of a particular grandparent. But in my family, my maternal grandmother’s legacy to me had long been established. She was an artist, and I was an artist. But, around the time of my mother’s death from Alzheimer’s disease, I discovered a family secret involving my grandmother that put a new spin on issues of legacy in my family.

More here.