~At Home~

At Home is where the comfort zone should be. Full of wonderful times and making new memories. Some memories come from bad circumstances but as a result of those times, they will hopefully bring good thoughts eventually. Such is the case with this watercolor painting that hangs on the wall in my workroom. This particular watercolor used to hang in my grandparents’ (father’s parents) home in San Francisco. In fact, it was painted at the spot where their home was located on Hyde Street. It is a popular spot for painters because it overlooks Ghirardelli Square and Alcatraz can be seen clearly along with the style of times.

When I look at this painting I am drawn to it’s history. The artist my grandparents bought it from at the time was a “starving artist”. They were very giving people and bought many paintings that way to decorate their home in order to help the artists and this simple watercolor was in their lives for many years. Then as what happens with life, death came upon them and it was transferred over to my father as an inheritance. Then again, when my father died it was left to my mother and that is where it should have never stayed.

My mother was a story all in herself. It isn’t pretty from my view, but in a little explanation she was jealous & angry, and a not so great mother to me. When she died she had her sister and her husband take over the estate and they, in turn, put my father’s side and history up for grabs at an auction where I had to buy a few articles back in order to keep some ancestry. None, absolutely none of the items were from her side of the family but her sister and husband made money and took articles through the passage of executor. The Chamberlain/Short items were sold off with history to who knows who because of a vindictive train of selfish thoughts from a few. And unfortunately, that is the truth.

In the long run, years ago, I turned my back on family with no regrets because it became a mess. But being away from them has given me time to reflect on my ancestry from the Short/Chamberlain and in particular, her side McMillan/Burgess since she didn’t know that much about them and me being me, I wanted to complete “Me”.

So I ventured on a trip down ancestry lane years ago and have made many discoveries on my maternal side which are now verified going as far back as the 1400’s including the fact her father was not of Irish blood but of Scottish blood instead. I have touched base with many decedents and cousins alike and it has been a homecoming for me.

Everytime I look at that painting I look at it’s memories in my eyes like this: It is a memory of laughter from my Grandmother Short in her home in San Francisco. It is a memory of a snort and a growl from my Grandfather Short. It is a memory of that cable car and hearing its bell clanging. It is a memory of looking out the telescope that was permanently planted in the living room there. It is a memory of a snicker from Dad and a loving memory for himself when he got to hang the painting in his home when his parents died. It was his memory as he grew up with it. It is a memory of dinners with silverware given to my Great Great Great Grandfather Chamberlain by a society in S. F. where the Governor attended just for him. It is a memory of these paintings that I looked at during boring conversations that saved me from being a disgrace at the table. It is a memory of my mother’s worried look that one of us kids was going to embarrass her. It is and has a memory of my life now and I smile every time I look at it, every single day with a new memory of my life and a recall of the past.

It is Home now.

Ironic, but in the long run, my mother did make me happy. By simply selling off my father’s belongings, she made me realize how she never could sell my love for the past away and who I am and what I am made of.

I am At Home with life and am giving thanks to my ancestors and this simple painting of reminding me that my memories and my life turned out pretty damn good and I am pretty proud of being a McMillan, Burgess & Chamberlain, Short. It’s a pretty awesome lineage past a certain time.

Shelter in and stay healthy.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #94: At home

Patti of https://pilotfishblog.com/
Ann-Christine aka Leya of https://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/
Amy of https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/
Tina of https://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/


  1. Kally says:

    This is so beautifully and brilliantly written. Thank you for sharing with us. I really appreciate your thoughts.

    1. Thank you Kally!

      1. Kally says:

        You’re most welcome. Hope you are doing well during this pandemic.

  2. What a sad story. Families can be so weird sometimes. But you have your painting and all its memories and it is a lovely piece. I just want to be there!

    1. Thank you Anabel. Yes, I quit on family, but San Francisco is a place I continue to visit. I just love it there and the Bay will always be a home to me. Can’t wait to say that about Scotland!!

  3. Leya says:

    I can only agree with the other commenters – and you are a strong and good woman, Kathleen. Stay well โ™ฅ

    1. Such nice words. Thank you very much ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Leya says:


  4. Tina Schell says:

    You have turned lemons into lemonade for sure Kathleen – how marvelous to have come full circle and to remember the good rather than the bad. Kudos!

    1. I appreciate that Tina. Thank you very much ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Very poignant blog post! You sound like a truly wonderful person.

    1. Thank you, I am finding it good to let out the past and move forward. I hope you come back. Thank you!

  6. Oh, this is a heartbreaking story, but what a joyful feeling in the end.
    What a telling watercolor, Kathleen!
    Thank you for sharing your memories.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts. I think everyone had something in their life that was not so great. But I’m glad I could write about it now and it’s fine and done. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  7. A poignant tale but a healthy way of looking at things. It’s a great painting and what an iconic view! Stay Well.

    1. Thank you.

  8. Ana Daksina says:

    Reblogging this to my readers at sister site Poetic Justice

    1. Thank you. I am glad it will be read and passed on hopefully to encourage instead if discourage ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Ana Daksina says:

        I think it will ๐Ÿ˜Œ

  9. For sure.
    But not the courage.

    Carefree, summer days in your water colors ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I like that, “carefree summer days in your water colors”! Thanks for that inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚

Comments are closed.