The terror of Sherwin-Williams

My office at work is being painted. The paint brand is Sherwin-Williams and suddenly I am thrown back to me at age perhaps six, just able to read. A hardware store on Main Street in Metuchen, N.J. has a sign with the Sherwin-Williams logo that tormented my childhood with questions I was afraid to pose to my father who knew pretty much everything. Perhaps he’d think these ridiculous questions:
Was there really a paint can that big somewhere over the North Pole?
How much paint would it hold?
Would the paint come down as far as New Jersey?
Could we outrun it?
Who will tip it?
Red like blood?
Wouldn’t gravity hold the drops?
Will the mountains be covered, like in Noah’s flood?
Why aren’t other kids scared? Why only me?
Finally I believe I asked my mother if the picture was “real.” I’m thinking she thought I was asking if the logo was real. “Yes,” she said, “of course it’s real.”
The innocence of childhood is shot through with terror.

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

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“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

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