Sunday, December 21, 2008
Dorothea Rosenthal Gordon Remembered
This is a photograph of my grandmother that I found doing research online. It is from her high school yearbook. Her name was Dorothea Rosenthal Gordon and with my grandfather, Albert Gordon, acquired Penwood in 1953. She was an artist and a creative talent ahead of her time. She attended Northwestern University and became a journalist when there were few women in journalism. She was a fine painter, as a hobby, but her work was quite exceptional. Today, she could have sold it at auction, in a gallery, or on Etsy or ebay at least. It is strange to continue to learn about her 16 years after her death, and to be learning about her using technology she could never have imagined possible. More importantly, I think, is the fact that the more I learn about her the more extraordinary I think she was. She possessed a tremendous creative impulse -- to paint, write, read, do needlepoint. She created magnificent dollhouses, had an exceptional antique doll collection, and seemed happiest when she was engrossed in a creative pursuit. She also loved gardening. I wish I could talk to her now about what she planted at Penwood, and why, and where and what she would say about what we have done to the landscape. We used to have special lunches out on the town and would talk about how Penwood looked when she first moved in. She had a very particular and wise eye regarding its history and its preservation. I would like to go back to the 1950's and visit with her for a long day on the dock. She had much to say that I could not really have understood when we had our talks, when I was in my early 20's.