Nomi Wagner Portrait Artist

Meet My Brother, Billy: A Portrait Drawing of Our Childhood

by Nomi Wagner

I want to give a big shout out to my “baby brother” Billy. With his help, Gerry and I are completely moved in to our new home, and I am, once again, happily painting portraits.

My drawing of Billy and me, 1944

Billy has always been good at problem-solving and fixing things. He was about five years old when our great-uncle gave him a broken watch to play with. Billy repaired it within a few minutes, and our great-uncle asked for his watch back.

After our father and grandfather died, though only six years old, Billy became the “man of the house.” He’s been helping our mother and me ever since. But being so handy has been a double-edged sword his whole life … whenever he is invited somewhere, people ask him to bring his tools.

Billy and Gerry assembling patio furniture

Billy graciously volunteered to help us with our move. Gerry is very handy, too (am I lucky or what?!), and he and Billy work well together. It was fun for me to be working alongside them. We kept Billy happy with sashimi, pastrami sandwiches, home-cooked dinners and Trader Joe’s cookies and ice cream.

Billy installing pull-out shelves

So now our closets are remodeled, garage carpet tiles and storage cabinets are in, pull-out shelves are installed in the kitchen, patio furniture is assembled, all my albums and art books are on shelves in my studio, and the paintings are hung. It looks like we’ve always lived here. We’re very happy in our new little home, and we love and are grateful for our talented “baby brother.” Thank you, Billy!!!

My new studio

P.S. Downsizing from 2600 to 1300 square feet wasn’t easy, but it sure feels good to have more control over less “stuff.” And we sure don’t miss the 32 stairs.