“Banking Day” by Edward Hopper

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June 15, 2012 by The Citron Review

by Merry Speece

 

December, and here I am, just moved in, and I need a new bank account. I’d better get dressed for the cold, to go out to the bank. But, wait – if I wear snow boots, will the bankers think I’m a robber? No – wait – it’s a ski mask I’m not supposed to wear.

So on the card I send George for Christmas I write about the snow boots/ski mask, and when he gets the card, he calls from Dayton to report on recent trends in banking. His own bank, he says, now has a No Winter Clothes policy. That morning in fact when he went to the bank he wore shorts.

It’s a wonder, really, that George Hallett, always the comedian, says nothing about a snow bank.

George is an old friend, from college days, who lives in an apartment without furniture. I’ve never been to his apartment, but a mutual friend, Tom Szudy, told me about George’s No Furniture policy. On the phone I ask George about his furniture and then about Tom’s furniture. Oh, George says, he never visits Tom at his place. Afraid of the furniture, ha, ha.

George must’ve seen that Edward Hopper picture (and I saw it in an article that argues that the painter was a surrealist) in which a big pink chair looks about ready to swallow a man reading in his living room. Edward Hopper also painted pictures of people in offices, probably some of them bankers. He painted a picture of a woman sitting on a bed in a pink bathing suit. Hereafter I will call that bathing suit painting “Banking Day.”

Before hanging up, George tells me about the Winters Bank, an old bank in Dayton. The bank owned by the Winters family. Jonathan Winters – one of those Winters – remember?

 

Merry Speece has published two chapbooks of poetry and has been a recipient of a state arts commission fellowship in prose. Her mixed-genre Sisters Grimke Book of Days (Oasis Press, England), which one reviewer called a prose poem, is a work of fragmented historical scholarship.

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