Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hiriam B.

Meet dour little Hiriam B.

"Hiriam B, 1919." Hand embroidery into a
post card,  2014.

I stitched him for my darling friend Erin on from a postcard of a photo called "Cotton Flax and Barley, 1919," by Louis Buhle, from the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

Detail of feather, fern and crossed fly stitches.

Hiriam B is a fantasy figure. I have no idea what the real boy's name was when he was photographed at the Children's Garden in the early 20th Century. I imagine that the borough ran a program for city children, teaching them about horticulture in the midst of their urban landscape.

Sketchbook scene.

My Hiriam B. didn't live into adulthood. Despite the photographer's efforts to coax out a smile, Hiriam refused.

My Hiriam B. smiled only when he was with his little brother Samuel, who did live into old age.

Hiriam B. made up surprisingly happy tunes for Samuel, which the two boys whistled together. Even as an elderly man, walking up and down the shoreline in Miami Beach in socks and sandals, Samuel never stopped missing his beloved older brother. And he kept whistling, even when he could no longer conjure Hiriam's compositions.

For Erin, with all of my love.

For 87 years, Samuel smiled enough for both of them.

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