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A day in the life of a boy.

It's a busy day for Chuck Marsh, the model for this cover. Get up; brush teeth; then, of course, there's that bothersome school to deal with. Baseball and a charming young woman provide diversions until time to go home, do homework, and turn in. It is interesting to note the boy's wide-eyed interest reading a comic book at breakfast and at lunch versus his grimace over schoolwork.

"He was like a director," Marsh says today, speaking of Norman Rockwell. "He knew just what he wanted. If it was a scene where you were walking, he'd prop the front foot with books just as he wanted it, then the back foot, then photographer Gene Pelham [see First Crocus, page 88] would take the shot." Rockwell would paint the scene from the photos, "exactly as they were," recalls Marsh. "If the photograph showed my cowlick with three hairs that day, the painting would show my cowlick with three hairs. I have later compared some of the photos with the finished painting and have been amazed."

"We would get $5 or $10 for posing," Marsh recalls. "I remember bringing my dog once, and Rockwell painted the dog, who also made $5!" That was decent pay at the time: Marsh's modeling fee once covered a couple of weeks of summer camp.

Rockwell first painted Marsh as a baby and continued using him as a model until he was 12 when Rockwell moved from Arlington, Vermont, to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. "Rockwell was totally fun. In a way, he was like a big kid," Marsh says.

Was it strange being on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post where millions would see him? "No, it was normal," Marsh says today. For him, posing for Rockwell, or one of the several other Post artists that lived in Arlington, was just part of everyday life in the small town.

Footnote: When this painting was complete, Rockwell donated the original to Arlington's Community Club for their annual raffle. Famous as Rockwell was, he was thought of as an illustrator, not a fine artist. When the gavel came down, the picture went to the highest bidder for a grand total of $0 cents. As a reference point, in December 2012, one of Rockwell's paintings, Willie Gillis' Food Package from Home, fetched $2.8 million in a Chicago auction.

Watch a video of Chuck Marsh discussing Norman Rockwell at www.saturdayeveningpost.com/chuck-marsh.

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Please note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.

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Title Annotation:The Vault: THE ROCKWELL FILES; Norman Rockwell
Author:Denny, Diana
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2013
Words:412
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