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Why Fantasy Photomontage Fulfills an Aging Parent’s Dreams

Fantasy Dreamscape for Albert Z by digital artist Nancy Gershman
Albert Z, gavel in hand, with favorite Supreme Court justices

Your Dad may be a lot like Albert: a humble maverick. A lawyer for almost six decades, running five times for judge, Fate had something else in store for Albert. And being the great probate lawyer he is, Albert continues to do what he does best, conscientiously and uncomplainingly as ever.

But all this time, his son’s been paying attention. What kind of fortitude, energy and creativity must it have taken for Dad to run a campaign five times and “never make it”? Is there something I could do for Dad to make everything alright in the end? Could I maybe make him a judge after all…

At Retirement, One Last Unfulfilled Wish

The thing is, we can fulfill an aging parent’s dream any time we want. We can make their dreams come true at retirement, on their birthday, for Xmas or for Hanukkah. All it takes to make this photo collage fantasy gift is a powerful story, locating a few well chosen pictures of your subject (or having them pose for you without having a clue), and a couple of convincing props from my own bag of tricks.

As a professional portrait artist, I’ve seen all kinds of dreams fulfilled: the father who wanted to win the Congressional Medal of Honor; the mother who wished she’d become a nurse. Sometimes these dreams are tucked down so deep in a retiree’s soul, that they’re convinced they’re well beyond it. Others will pine for what was not to be, or curse the day their dream derailed. But then, out of the blue, there it is, their wishful reality on paper, big as life.

Does it embarrass the aging parent and make them mad? Amazingly, no, because, you see, it’s a gift of love. You’d be surprised how the majority of retiring parents are thrilled to see their adult children knew them better than they knew themselves! Even more amazing is how these aging moms and dads are touched by the positive way everybody else reacts to their fantasy collage gift. Here’s what Albert said after we created his special order photo collage:

“I like just the entire thing – it makes people kinda laugh. They enjoy it.”

Expand Dad’s Day Dream into a Full-Blown Fantasy Collage 

In Albert’s case, the request by his son was to turn Dad into a full-blown Supreme Court justice. But there was something else driving this custom order photo collage. Albert’s son couldn’t put out of his mind how Dad had reacted to one particular decision the Supreme Court made that they really shouldn’t have, which ended up having disastrous consequences. Albert explains:

“We were all pro-Gore at the time, and didn’t like the idea that the Supreme Court entered the picture at all. They had no right getting involved on a State, let alone a Federal level. That was the year 2000, when the Supreme Court voted 5 to 4, exactly the opposite of how I voted. So in the photomontage my son made for me, they’re applauding my dissenting vote.”

How Good Sons and Daughters Can Earn Brownie Points

In this piece of wishful reality we created for Albert, Dad not only became a full-fledged Supreme Court justice. We also surrounded him by all his role models dating back to the early 20th century: William Douglas, Earl Warren, Felix Frankfurter and Hugo Black, Benjamin Cardozo, William Howard Taft,Thurgood Marshall and Sandra Day O’Connor. Albert’s reaction?

Albert and wife Rita

“My son, he’s a very smart guy to pick out the good judges, whether they voted for Gore or not. And he put me in the middle as Chief Justice. The gavel? It shows after 57 years, I’m still in charge.“