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From The Vault Of Art Shay: Closing Titles

By Art Shay in News on Dec 12, 2012 7:00PM

(Legendary Chicago-based photographer Art Shay has taken photos of kings, queens, celebrities and the common man in a 60-year career. This week, Art laments on closing another chapter of his late wife's life.)

My wife Florence and I had a standing joke. She was 43 days older than I but, having suffered the rigors of a demanding childhood in Brooklyn, she was not only cuter, healthier and more svelte than Bronx-y me, but a lot more Godly in belief and in non-hellish behavior. Of course, in her chosen field—rare books—she was a lot smarter. So the joke was I was expected to die first. We both knew the reason: I didn't want to deal with her million dollar inventory of books.

Well, even as real life, real death doesn't often work out as planned. Poor Florence suffered so much that during her last painful month I stopped hoping for a miracle cure and came over to agreeing with her wish: To stop the oxygen; the morphine four times a night (I did like holding her hand for the nine minutes it took for the drug to hit and put her to blessed sleep); the listening at her door to note when her stertorous breathing came to the stop she now so passionately desired.

Fortunately, the executor of Florence's secret will, our son-in-law Carl, whom I recruited a couple of years ago, was able to take this out of my hands. He helped arrange the big auction at Leslie Hindman Auctions I told you about, and set up a five day much-reduced sale that ended last Sunday— that I share with you today.

If you can't wait until this time every Wednesday to get your Art Shay fix, please check out the photographer's blog, which is updated regularly. Art Shay's book, Chicago's Nelson Algren, is also available at Amazon.