When? It was probably 1980 or 1981, it could have been later, but by then we were living in Pittsburgh. Where? It was probably Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but I do remember the emotion. I don’t even remember who I was with when I first saw it — maybe Mom and Aunt Ginny. All I really remember is walking past the window and seeing the painting and having a powerful feeling of sadness, but also a feeling of desire. I wanted to own the painting.
I must have talked to Dean who probably reluctantly agreed to visit the Merill Chase Gallery in the mall to see if he wanted to own it too. I do remember going into the gallery and telling a Merill Chase employee that we were interested in purchasing the painting in the window. The employee showed us a small room with a sofa or comfortable chairs and invited us to sit while she had the painting brought to us and placed on an easel. She left us alone for a few minutes while we talked about it. I explained why I liked it. I don’t recall Dean’s responses. I really wanted it. It was not too expensive, as I recall something we could afford, but not easily. It turned out that the painting was actually a serigraph and came with a certificate of authenticity.
We bought the serigraph and it hung in the living room of our Pittsburgh apartment. It must have hung in our Alexandria homes — in places where visitors could see it. For many years it hung above our bed in Bethesda. One night Clare and Andrew asked me the story of the painting. Since I didn’t know the actual story, I made one up. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it had something to do with the merry-go-round being magical so the horses could still run on it but one horse wanted to run free and jumped off the carousel, only to freeze a few hundred feet away from the merry-go-round. No happy ending. I think it made the kids very sad.
Once I realized that the Internet knew everything, I looked up the artist, Robert Addison. I found a few things about him. His other work was often as depressing. The merry-go-round in my serigraph is featured in some of his other work. Its origin is based on seeing a bombed out merry-go-round when he was stationed in England during World War 2. The painting was completed in 1979. I think he did two versions of it because there is mention of “Moonlit Merry-go-Round, II” on the Internet. More recent searches have found that Dennis De Young from Styx used Moonlit Merry-go-Round on an album called One Hundred Days from Now.
Once I established my attic office the painting was taken there. I think it makes Dean sad, and he doesn’t really like it — I don’t think he ever did. But I do, I still do. Only I ever see it now — or Dean when he comes to the attic. Very rarely do guests visit the attic so, the only actual piece of art (by an artist who is not a friend or family member) is hidden away for only a few sets of eyes. And that makes me sad.