NJWILDBEAUTY Readers know that Betty Lies arranged an artquest for us to the Connecticut town of Old Lyme. Here, as you learned some posts ago, significant American artists of the Tonalist School boarded with Florence Griswold, turning out misty, moody, dreamy scenes of the bucolic surroundings of that stately home and town. Others came along, electrified by the French Barbizon School’s approach to landscape, which had been (scornfully, by an art critic) christened “Impressionism”, with a nasty nod to Monet’s “Impression: Sunrise.”
Neither school was a School. Each evolved naturally, inspired by nature, in the days before ‘development’, which to me has always been a euphemism for ‘destruction.’
Our plan had been to drive up on Friday; stay in a nearby B&B; on Saturday, find the Museum that the Griswold home has now become;to spend ‘the shank of the day’ with the artwork in frames and on walls, doors and panels of Miss Florence’s guests. An adjacent gallery holds artwork of other countries and eras, all of it either leading to or influenced by Tonalism.
Fate had other ideas.
Betty’s early-morning fall on the Friday of departure led to nearly five Saturday hours in the Emergency rooms of (ironically) Middlesex Hospital (name of one of the hospitals in which my late husband long served, in New Brunswick, NJ, in the years of our marriage.) This Middlesex is in Middleton, CT, and we now know more about Middlesex than we ever intended. Her arm had broken. Yes, the driving arm. It was FINALLY splinted and slinged. It is now cast, courtesy of Princeton physicians. And we barely made it to Griswoldiana.
Betty’s heroic and staunch. I am neither, especially after spending this summer caught up in the dire plight of my nephew’s son James. This musically gifted 20-year-old was snared by cancer inside his spinal column, abruptly and seemingly irrevocably discovered August 1. James has now undergone two surgeries and God KNOWS how much chemo. His walking remains a major challenge.
Betty drove anyway, insisting it did not hurt, as her insurance covers only the owner/driver. I realized, that Saturday’s challenge was my first-ever experience of an Emergency Room. That name, too, is ironic. For no one seemed to comprehend the urgency in emergency.
The art was lovely, dark but not deep. Miss Florence remains overwhelmingly impressive, –such an independent woman making her indelible mark on the work of art, despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in HER life. Another mentor for us, like Eleanor (Roosevelt) and Georgia (O’Keeffe).
I only managed a handful of pictures for my readers. Put Old Lyme into the search function to see the internet scenes of the mystical art which catalyzed and still evoke our experience.
And I wonder if I’ll ever be able to figure out this trip.