This was the first Christmas card that Anthony and I sent after we were married. We spent a week in New York on our honeymoon, going to a play and lots of museums and restaurants. I really enjoyed the Cloisters in all its medieval glory. I have always liked illustrated manuscripts, so I drew all the images based on one I saw in a manuscript exhibit there. This was done on a waxed copper plate that Tony then etched in an acid bath. Of course, I had to write everything backwards so that it would print correctly, and I managed to invert every letter except the “z” in our name at the bottom. The design for the initials A and D were inspired by Albrecht Durer’s signature. After Tony printed the etching on heavy paper, he dripped wax around the edges to “age” it. We thought our counterfeit looked pretty damned authentic (as well as hilarious), until one relative said that we shouldn’t worry, all young couples found the first few years financially tough, and next year we could probably afford a box of store-bought cards. Today the copper plate and one etching are framed on a wall.
An exquisite sense of aloneness is finally percolating through the numbed emotional skin I grew after Tony’s death, almost two years now. Of course, having to deal with the plague and taking hold of finances and home maintenance decisions by myself took my attention, but all that distilled sorrow is sublimating now. I hear my son talking on the phone in another room and my brain “thinks” it’s Anthony, or I am shopping in the supermarket and come across something he especially enjoyed. I think I understand the solitariness of the last speaker of a dying language.