• Cindy Zampa

Like Father Like Son


PORTAL 52 - Week 24: Like Father Like Son

“When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son.”

~ The Talmud

Tears squeezed out of my eyes as I doubled over, laughing. Our family was looking through old photo albums. Some of the fashion choices and poses struck when the pictures were taken had all of us in stitches. Those glasses, the earrings, the wide flared plaid pants and puffy sleeves had us wondering what on earth we were thinking when we got dressed that day. As we flipped through album after album, we recalled adventures, misadventures, people, places and tragedies of years past. The yellowed, faded and tattered photos were portals, transporting us back in time through the decades, indeed the generations, of our heritage and shared history.

The photo reference used for this painting is one that was taken of my husband when he was 4 years old, standing next to his father. As soon as I saw it, it begged to be included in my PORTAL 52 series. I knew it would be perfect for the week in which we celebrate Father’s Day. It spoke volumes to me about portals, and not just because they’re standing in front of a portal. In this photo is evidence of the sacrifice, humour and love that it requires to raise a family.

The doorway leads to the house that my in-laws built, literally by hand, from scratch. They sacrificed their bodies as they laboured to mix the cement that formed the blocks and slabs to create a home. The bench outside, and the basin underneath it, speak to the months when they toiled to plant, tend to and harvest the food they’d grown to feed their young family.

The pose…well, the pose is just priceless. The way my father-in-law is standing is the pose he still strikes to this day, anytime a camera comes out. It is like a reflex. My husband also tends to stand in the pose he is taking in this photo, although it is not just when a camera comes out. It too, is like a reflexive action, whenever he stops to think about something. We’ve teased both of them about it throughout their lives, but it continues to be their trademark stance.

As I painted this photo I thought about how things get passed through the generations. I am so very thankful for the upbringing that my husband had because it shaped him to be the man I fell in love with and married. It also allowed him to become an incredible father to our children. Our children have, in turn, developed into strong, compassionate, and loving adults who have already made their positive marks on this world, and we are fiercely proud of both of them.

This week, I dedicate this painting to these two special men in my life. I also want to give a shout-out to all the fathers out there who have sacrificed for, loved and laughed with your children. You deserve to be honoured and recognized every day, as the heroes you are.

Happy Father’s Day!


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