Rogers, Harry Gardner
04 February 1923 - ** May 1958
Harry was my father. He was a deeply loved husband, son and brother, a brilliant mathematician, a popular teaching fellow at Harvard, and a painter. But first for me, he was my father. He was dead within weeks of the taking of this picture. He walked into the Connecticut river in May; his body was found by a fisherman on Memorial Day. My mother was left a widow at 27. She kept the last clippings of his hair. My grandmother kept the buttons from his navy jacket. I look to his paintings, his letters and the tales of those who knew him, and strive for even a single memory, which never comes.
His death informed my world; an essentially unmendable thing even now that I have outlived his dying age by some twenty years. Yet I understand how it happened, for I have come so close to it myself, and have seen others pass that way since. I can never blame him for it. I am an artist, as was my mother, and all that we have created carries him and his end somewhere within it.
I considered cropping my own infant face from this photo, yet in a sense we who are left on the shore are all also aces of suicide. May there be some other, better meeting.