i _i, ;ndancing till sun-up, then head straightnback to work, hardly tired. Our lovenwas better than sleep.”nIt was all there on the canvas. Lottienand Izzy working. Lottie and Izzyndancing, with a big smudgy yellownmoon radiating over them. But thennext scene was more obscure. Lottienand Izzy walking hand-in-hand. Smallnchildren wandered through the canvas.nThere was a crude shop. Grandmanspoke to the canvas as if trying tonreconcile their life together.n”Izzy. We were like oil and water.nYou, always scribbling those senselessnprotest poems. We got along until Instarted nagging you to give me yournsavings to open the business I alwaysndreamed of A fabric shop. Of coursenwe lost everything. You didn’t give andamn. You hated money. You talkednabout your poems to the customers,ninstead of business. But I can’t blamenyou. That’s the way you always were. Inhave no right to be angry.”nGrandma Lottie ate the last of hern50/CHRONICLESnstrudel. The front of her dress wasnspeckled with pastry flakes. Shenbrushed them off with a crudenbrusqueness. “How could I have marriedna man so opposite?”n”But Grandma, there’s a part of younthat’s just like him. The artistic side.nYou admired the writer, the fighter, innhim. It makes sense. It’s justtoo-bad hewasn’tnfighting for your side.”n”Yes. You are right. Johnny-cakes.”nShe seemed relieved. She went intonthe closet and took out a dust-coverednpainting that was wedged betweenndozens of pairs of jumbled old-ladynblack shoes. She blew the dust offnand sneezed. She rested it against thensofa. Her mood changed. Grandmantwitched the way old women sometimesndo. A sign that she sensed thenReaper’s hand on her shoulder and wasntrying to shake it off.nThe painting’s locale was this verynroom. It was all recognizable — thensofa, the narrow windows, and rustednfire escape. Izzy lay on the couch. AnnnYiddish-language newspaper was opennacross his chest.n”Izzy,” Grandma Lottie began, hernwords hushed now. “Izzy, it’s time fornessen. I thought he was taking a nap,nbut no, he was dead. Sixty-nine yearsnold and all he had to show for it wasnthose cheap hem-cutting tools he neatlynput on the dresser. And a trunkful ofnold worthless poems.”nGrandma spoke direcfly to Izzy onnthe couch. Some of the paint hadnpeeled off, from being banged andncrushed by the jumble of shoes.n”Izzy,” she said, “I was so alone thenfirst five years after you died. Thenchildren hardly ever came to see me.nEvery last friend was dead. I was toonold to make new ones. I even read yournold poems once. They weren’t so bad.nIzzy, I took up painting because myninsides hurt so bad. But I also burnednto tell all I had seen and felt.”nOnce again, Lottie looked at me.n”Part of me is in every brush-stroke.nMy labor pains. The bread lines. Mynlice-covered clothes during steerage.nThe three children I brought into thenworld. The hard cruel times and thengood. My whole d—n bitter life. “nI was moved. She seemed exhausted.nWas it from carrying the pictures ornfrom the emotional strain? I packed mynequipment and said I would be back tonfinish the interview.nA few days later it rained. Thenweather grew cold, the streets, icednover. Grandma Lottie went downstairsnfor groceries, slipped on the ice, andnshattered her hip.nI visited her in the hospital. She didnnot recognize me. She was heavilynsedated. I asked the doctor why thensedation. Was it for pain?n”No,” he answered, matter-of-factly,n”it is to keep her quiet. She is a realnrebel. She thinks she is twenty. Shendoesn’t take crap from any of the staffnor the other patients. So we have to donit. For her own good. So she can fit innand get better.”nA week later she was dead. I believenshe was given an overdose. No rebelsnallowed.nJohn Chodes is a playwright Uving innNew York City. One of Lottie Jonas’npaintings was bought by The HighnMuseum of Art in Atlanta, but hasnsince been taken out of theirncollection.n