Back when I was a little sprat, I opened my very first savings account at the Wilmington Savings Fund Society office on
Market Streetin that northern city, a semi-bustling burg of 80,000 or so souls dominated by the mighty Du Pont Company. Delaware
Hand in hand, my mother and I walked through the revolving door and into the bank. I was stopped dead in my tracks by a magnificent mural looming on a lobby wall. My mother had to nudge me over to a teller's window, where I stood on a step stool and slipped quarters into the half moon-shaped slots in my first deposit book.
I asked the teller about the mural.She replied that it was N.C. Wyeth's "The Apotheosis of the Family."
Every time my deposit book filled up and I returned to WSFS, I would gaze up at "The Apotheosis," which had the effect of making me feel very small in stature but at the same time very big since I was old enough to have my money in
's premier savings bank. Wilmington
Fast forward more years than I care to remember. Du Pont still has a presence in
, but it is a considerably diminshed one as the once giant chemical maker has stumbled trying to branch out from its longtime moneymakers in synthetic fibers, paints and such into new markets like pharmaceuticals and genetic engineering. The city's skyline is now dominated by big out-of-town banks that have opened credit-card operations to take advantage of Wilmington 's welcoming banking laws. Delaware
WSFS is putting up a new headquarters, and the bank of my childhood will be gutted and rebuilt as a hotel or for apartments or whatever. The developer apparently can't find a way to incorporate the 60-foot-by-19-foot mural -- my mural -- into his plans and intends to dispose of it.
That is how I opened a post early this year. A decision has now been made on the fate of "The Apotheosis."