Dear Darling Ones,
When we were kids our next door neighbors, The Deppes, loaned us a board game called Masterpiece. This is notable because we were not the kinds of kids you would loan things to because we destroyed everything. None of us have many cherished childhood toys that survived that period of our lives.
Also, Sister #2 was constantly at war with Mrs. Deppe.
Masterpiece is an art auction game where the goal is to amass the most expensive art collection through various shenanigans. For some reason they loaned us Masterpiece and we spent the entire summer of 1985? 1986? playing the hell out of that game.
We loved it and not just because it was the only intact game in our house.
I did not win Masterpiece very often because I was (and am) a giant sucker. I fell hard for Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, and because Sister #2 & Jodi Hanson were more ruthless than I am they would use that love against me.
Without fail I would use all my dollars to procure Nighthawks. I didn’t even care that I lost the game all the time. Owning the painting felt like a win to me.
I have carried my love of Edward Hopper’s painting with me since playing that game. In college a friend of mine bought a poster of the tacky parody Boulevard of Broken Dreams. When I laughed and told him it was a parody he didn’t believe me. A few hours later he came back to The Spectator office to tell me that I was right, it was a parody, and he returned the poster.
“How did you know?” he asked.
“Because I’ve loved the original for as long as I can remember,” I said. “Didn’t you ever see Ferris Bueller?”
“Not everyone remembers all the art in Ferris Bueller, Chromes,” he said, but thanked me for telling him it was a parody.
When Sister #2 went to the Art Institute of Chicago a few years back she brought me home a Nighthawks magnet so I can see the painting whenever I walk into the kitchen.
You can imagine my delight when my favorite YouTube series Great Art Explained finally got to Nighthawks.
What you can’t imagine was my reaction when Great Art Explained Guy got to the end and started talking about Hopper’s loneliness:
He often felt like an outsider himself. At six-foot-five he was an exceptionally tall man, and by the age of twelve he was already six-foot tall, a fact that certainly contributed to his growing sense of isolation and loneliness.
I am six-foot-five and super duper exceptionally tall for a woman. I was also six-foot at twelve. And these are, indeed, fact that contribute to my constant sense of isolation and loneliness.
It was weird to learn I had these very specific traits in common with the man who made the painting I’ve loved for so long. I felt a little like I found someone who was in my karrass.
A smidge less isolated & lonely than I was before,