Aunt Claire's portrait hangs on my living room wall.
Claire was a single working woman when the painting was done, by her friend Yasha Kaganov.
Along with the painting, I framed an article written by Claire about Yasha's portrait. I don't know where or when the article was published. I often look at the painting and contemplate what she wrote about her life in the article. I invite you to join my contemplation by considering the questions Claire posed and her reflections about "our working lifetime."
What am I doing in a closed-up little office and a tight little career girl apartment?
I reflected. We are caught in the trap of the city, for years, for our working lifetime, but there is still hope, says the painted canvas, if we don’t forget there once was a dream.
Aunt Claire was my mother's sister. Claire was born in 1914 and died at age 87 in 2001. She was single until she finally met the right man, Rolland Metzger, and consented to marry him in 1967, after a long courtship.
Claire was 52 years old and I was 23 when she married Rolland. From then on, until she died, we were close and she was a big part of my life.
I knew of her life with Rolland but I knew nothing of her life as a single working woman, until Claire died and I inherited the painting, along with many published and unpublished articles and stories written by Claire. Among them was the undated, unattributed newspaper article, "The Painting Went Up." A better title might have been "A Working Woman's Dream."
Claire's life is a story worth telling, with many ups and downs, or as Claire put it, "(My) life is so full of twists and turns."
Note from Betsy: All Clara Stories except this one, are fiction based on the life of my Aunt Claire LeBrint Metzger. In the other Clara Stories posted to my blog, I try my best to capture Claire’s voice and personality. Please know the other stories are “figments of my imagination." However, they include quotes and references to existing documents I have collected from Claire and from my mother and father, Leonard and Rose Fuchs, all three of blessed memory.