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My dad was a Kessler's drinker. He drank shots and beers almost everyday of his working life. A steelworker in Pittsburgh, the bars gave you Kessler's Whiskey, unless you asked for something else.

Alcoholism presumably wrecked the family, and eventually killed him. He left after 20 years of marriage in 1960 when I was six. He never contacted the family again.


I found my father 14 years later, when I was in the Marine Corps. But that is another story.


My step-father and mother cut my dad out of all family photos, so I had no idea what my dad looked like. He was never spoken of either. Recently a number of old photos have shown up, many cut or torn in half. I have painted a few of those photos, but then my oldest brother found the only surviving picture of my dad, from 1940, when Dad was 21. 


My dad had a problem with Kessler's Whiskey. I boiled some Kessler's down (to thicken it) and painted this portrait of my dad, taken from the small grainy 1940 photograph.