One afternoon as I strolled through the Brandywine River Museum, I came across this painting by Jamie Wyeth called “Lester.” The portrait haunted me. The next day, I started writing a story about what it might be like to hang out with this character one night.
From what I’ve read, Jamie Wyeth and Lester were friends and the painting was done in 1963. I have no idea if Lester is still alive or living in the Brandywine Valley. Of course, my story is fiction and has no real connection with the real person in the portrait. Since I was inspired by this local artist, I naturally wrote the story using local landmarks such as the Brandywine Creek and Hank’s Place, and a particular house that is located on Route 52 just south of West Chester.
The short story, Real Gentlemen, is included in the anthology Chester County Fiction.