To the editor of THE EAGLE:
This is a letter of comment about Norman Rockwell's legacy and Deborah Solomon's controversial book about him.
Our three sons modeled for Norman Rockwell in the 1960s for various ads in TV Guide, Time, etc.. At that time, we happened to live next door to Rockwell's talented photographer, Louie Lamone, who would sometimes ask if he could do practice photos of our four children.
One day, early on, Louie knocked on our door, saying," Norman needs a baby right away for his latest ad. Do you think you could have your baby down at his studio pretty soon so I can take photos?" At the appointed time, my husband and I rushed our new baby, John, and 3-year-old sister down to the Rockwell studio at the time given. We were running late and I was getting nervous.
Imagine our surprise when we pulled into the driveway to see Norman, pipe in hand, coming out of the studio to greet us saying, "Gee, it's really good of you folks to take time out of your busy Saturday to come and help me." He was about as genuine and unassuming a person as anyone could meet, although a stickler for having things done correctly. Our three boys ended up doing several ads and Norman signed a Rockwell book personally for a big fan of his, my mother, who was living with us at the time.
I have to respond to the Norman Rockwell representation said to be given by Deborah Solomon's book. To suggest that he might have preyed upon young children is ridiculous beyond belief. He was always trying to find models, but c'mon. The parents were always involved. Finding the right models was sometimes the most time consuming and frustrating challenge of his work.
How many of the many hundreds of models who posed for him as children did the author interview? Had she ever met Norman Rockwell personally? Had she ever conducted several in-depth interviews with him? What is this? This author assumes far too much. I am curious about her background and psychology. The bottom line is her "conjectures" should never be taken as truth.