THE green strip of parkway on Garfield Boulevard was patterned with tree shadows and fragrant with newly cut grass. It seemed pleasant for a change just being one of the crowd. My problem was a choice between the harvest fields again or a job at the easel. I looked at my hands; they were in no condition to do precision work with such a delicate instrument as the airbrush. I took the carefully folded want-ad section out of my pocket and read it over again. The Pioneer Portrait Company was only about a block away on Halsted Street.
I got the job, but the pay was less attractive than I had expected. Mr. Hannan, the proprietor, told me to report for work the following morning if I was willing to start from the bottom. My new employer seemed affable enough. He was close-mouthed and had hard eyes. He took me around the comer to the studio, which was in a small store building on Fifty-sixth Street. There I was introduced to the artists whom I didn't already know. Charley Medin was there and his sister Edith, John Blavka, and one or two others. Tucked away in one corner of the studio was my old associate, Angelo St. Verna Krise. His welcome was so effusive that I suspected he had been talking about me. Senese, the studio superintendent, eyed me suspiciously. He was about to revisit his native Italy for a brief vacation.
As I was accustomed to bronzed faces and arms, everyone in the studio seemed pale and colorless to me. Krise looked like a goggle-eyed ghost. Charley Medin looked pale too, but the city pallor seemed to compliment his blue eyes and his blond hair and mustache. Somehow I couldn't imagine his sister being sunburned like I was. I had never noticed her complexion before. It was, I thought, as delicate as a white peony petal. That was the