Here is a great photo of me and Edie Vonnegut in front of her painting of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that hangs in my living room wall. It has hung on my living room wall wherever I have lived since I bought the painting in 1971. Since that time I have lived in Boston, New York, Hollywood. Miami and now Indianapolis and the painting has always been on the living room wall wherever I lived.
In 1971, with the royalties from my novel Going All The Way, I bought a townhouse in Boston on Beacon Hill. (If I had never sold it I would now be a millionaire. So it goes.).
The first person I invited to see the house was Kurt Vonnegut. It was really “the house that Kurt built,” because his backing of my novel with the publisher and his great review of it in Life Magazine made the book a best-seller. When I showed Kurt the house I had not moved in yet and there was nothing on the walls.
“You have a lot of empty wall space,” Kurt said “And you need some paintings. It just so happens that my daughter Edie is a painter now and she has some paintings to sell. You might want to buy one.”
The next day I took the first shuttle flight to New York, went to see Edie, looked at some of her paintings and loved the one of the Garden of Eden. I bought it and she had it framed and shipped it to me.
I had not seen Edie since the time I bought her painting forty years ago until today (Sunday): when she came to town to join the celebration of the opening of the new Vonnegut Library building. She and her husband John Squibb came for breakfast, which was catered and donated by “Taste of Havana” who supplied fabulous pastelitos of strawberry, guava and coconut, plus the wonderful Cuban espresso that George serves to every patron at the end of a meal.
Edie, John and I talked non-stop for almost three hours while scarfing down Cuban pastries and talking about Kurt Vonnegut. I wish he had been there. In a way, he was, as we conjured up memories of his words, his humor, his kindness. As he sometimes said in punctuation to his novels: