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Paintings and photographs hang from the walls, that enclose what becomes home when full of the love our family shares. There is the one of the ship in a turmoil tossed sea. The endless photographs of family, many of our parents clear favorite, Brooke and me. The painting of our grandparents farm house. It is a work done by an uncle or distant cousin, which I am no longer sure but once could have said. In the kitchen a scene depicts chickens in a dusty yard. My favorite, a portrait, painted by an artist of some renown hangs in the family room against the wall farthest from the fireplace.

Brooke spends hours recreating the paintings with her own hands. Then she moves on to creations of her own, some from mind, others from items in sight. As we grow up, slowly first works of art, then photographs are replaced by pieces in frames father has built in the barn with his wood working tools. The tools with different edges of metal and handles worn shiny and smooth from first grandfathers and now his hands. Mother selects which works of my sisters art replace which others in our home. Until finally the house resembles a museum of dedication to the youngest child. Walls in every room finally full, paintings are swapped when Brooke believes the newest creation is of finer quality. A few of my parents favorites are never touched or moved, others find there way into hands of guests and are taken to new homes. Some are taken from the wall by their creator and placed back on easel and reworked or completely covered with something new. The kitchen has works of windmills in Dutch fields that none of our eyes have seen in person. Or is it now the market of some Mediterranean dream, they change in a pace that makes it difficult to be completely sure.

Where once my favorite portrait hung, a reproduction has taken its place. The reproduction is far superior, or perhaps I am biased in my viewing. The scent of linseed, gum and poppy oil rise from its fresh surface. On the sofa the artist, my sister sits, hands full of magic finding familiar place on a fret board create music only overshadowed by the paintings surrounding us. Inside me I shout, ‘put down that guitar and paint sister, always and forever you must paint!’ Out of respect for all that makes Brooke complete I stay silent.

For the first time in our lives the studying of that which covers our walls is done by the older sister. I memorize each pattern, color, the ridges left by brushes, smoothness created in other places. The magnificant tones that combine to make shadows.

In the attic neatly wrapped is photographs and paintings that once had places on our families walls but no longer have use or bearing. They are missed by no one, least of all myself, only barely remembered. I can’t say when the last one was removed to make space for something of Brooke’s. All I’m sure of is the current wealth of our walls is beyond any I will ever know.

-Brooke’s Sister