After finishing college, John worked for his father at Merry’s Word, and spent his free time painting and volunteering at the only art gallery in town. His thoughts were mostly about his art work, with no ambition for showing his paintings to anyone else. John never intended to be famous, he only wanted to be a good painter. He met Margaret when she began working part-time as a reporter. With a strong desire to be grown up, Margaret thought she was ready to get married. Upon meeting John, she set her sights completely on him. She immediately recognized John’s talents and suggested that he set up his own gallery in town. With her charm and connections, she arranged for a weekend gallery showing of John’s paintings. She rented an empty store space in downtown Merryweather from a landlord that was a friend of her mother’s. Margaret created all of the advertising for the event and easily persuaded Jack Caldwell, John’s father, to publish the notices in the paper. Being quite a novel event for Merryweather, the weekend showing was a huge success, and John’s work became known all over town. Immediately there was a flood of requests for John’s paintings, and he began filling these requests for small fees. John was overwhelmed by the instant appeal of his work, and completely indebted to Margaret for her ingenuity. Caught up in all of those feelings, and with Margaret already in love with him, they married within the year. Margaret was nineteen and John age twenty-two.
It was Margaret’s persistence that put his work in front of the public, and he began getting more and more commissions. After living in Merryweather for the first two years of their marriage, an offer came for John to study in Paris. Margaret was delighted with the idea. They made the move, thinking it would be a good career opportunity for John, which it was. However, after six years in Paris, commissions began to dry up. Margaret usually took care of the financial aspects of their personal life, but when John began asking questions about their finances, Margaret had to admit that they were deeply in debt. She liked the “fine” life of Paris, but it became somewhat of an obsession that they could not sustain. Keeping up the appearance of success was expensive. Eventually, John insisted they move back to New York, where they moved into an apartment of a former patron, who had an empty space for them to stay in indefinitely.
(Character sketches created by the composer. All people and places are fictional.)