Last night Mauro and I watched a not-great movie called “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” There’s a reason you’ve never heard of this movie—it’s no “Life is Beautiful.” But it is about the holocaust. (Don’t be fooled by the five-star rating on Netflix, because a) German people don’t have British accents and b) nor do Eastern European Jews and c) it was all just incredibly implausible. Just watch “Life is Beautiful.”)
Afterward we were talking about German people. I told him my grandmother’s name was Olive Niehaus, and Mauro asked me if she was born in Germany. No, I said, I think she was born in Nebraska. Then I pointed to a painting on the wall above my makeup table of a very sweet, young-ish girl wearing a turn-of-the-century blue dress with gloves and an actual bonnet. Olive’s mother Ida May painted it. I’m guessing it’s a self-portrait. And that’s all I have on “Glove Girl.” I love it.
We had other paintings of Ida May’s in our house growing up. One was some kind of battle scene with a bunch of soldiers on horses. I remember it being kind of epic. One was of a boy peeling an orange with a crooked homemade frame. I used to have “Orange Boy,” which made a nice companion to “Glove Girl,” but I was moving once and I poked a huge hole through it by accident and I may have tossed it in the trash at that point. Dumbest move I could’ve made, considering these things are fixable, even though I’m probably the only person alive besides my brother who would remember it on the wall above the table with the chess set.