I wrote this for a Language Arts assignment when I was in high school (updated 2016). It’s a description of a painting that hung in our bathroom and hallway when I was a teenager.


Dorothy Flannery Geer, in an undated photo, perhaps the late 1920s?
Dorothy Flannery Geer, in an undated photo, perhaps the late 1920s?

The painting by my great-grandfather on my mother’s side, Silas Geer, to his wife, Dorothy is beautiful. It’s a paradise on wood painted in 1933.

On the horizon, there are grey mountains and a setting sun. You feel as if you’re on an island paradise. To complete the picture, there is a small sailboat in the middle of the shimmering island lake.

Palm trees are all along the grey, almost black, shoreline, with all kinds of plants and flowers, giving the island a tropical appearance.

Silas Geer, in an undated photo - probably the early 1930s, when he was in the military.
Silas Geer, in an undated photo – probably the early 1930s, when he was in the military.

The glow of fires on the shoreline make you feel as if you’re Fletcher Christian and his mutinous crew from the H.M.S. Bounty just arriving on Tahiti.

The sky is a greyish purple, with a touch of blue, giving the impression of a coming tropical storm. Even though you feel the coming storm, you’re still filled with a sense of peacefulness. Almost as if you are on the boat in the middle of the lake, relaxing and soaking in the evening breeze and sunset.

Except for the glows of the coastal fires, you feel almost as if you’re the only one seeing this little taste of heaven.

It’s impossible to say exactly what the island was. Maybe Tahiti, maybe a complete figment of Si’s imagination, or perhaps — more likely — based on his experiences from being stationed in Haiti in the early 1930s.

Silas Geer at "Solitude Castle" in Haiti, 1932.
Silas Geer at “Solitude Castle” in Haiti, 1932.

Either way, I’m sure he put a lot of time into this gorgeous work of art. The detail is so specific and real that you can almost feel the texture of the palm tree or the plants around them.

I don’t know if Great-Grandma Dorothy was delighted with the painting, I’ve heard some interesting stories about her personality.

I know I would be  if someone gave me such a perfect piece of paradise.


My mother’s mother, Doris, was Silas and Dorothy’s oldest daughter.

Silas and Dorothy Geer with infant daughter, Doris, 1934.
Silas and Dorothy Geer with infant daughter, Doris, 1934.
Family Photos Credit: Rachel Cicarelli, my cousin who is as passionate about the Musser genealogy as I am about the Frohmbergs.

A big "Thank You" to my mom for sending me a picture of the painting.
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