Tom Rockwell, a model for his father Norman Rockwell, graciously spent time with S.T. Haggerty, giving him information for this exclusive story. Tom inherited his father’s artistic talent but used it to write seventeen children’s books, including the classic, How to Eat Fried Worms, which we discussed for this article.

Buddy Edgerton, a model who appears in many Rockwell paintings and was Tom’s close childhood friend, arranged the interview. Tom rarely gives interviews. He and I connected immediately because we grew up with the same people in the tiny village of West Arlington, Vermont. He knew them as children, and I as adults. Many of them modeled for the artist’s most beloved paintings, such as the Four Freedoms, Saying Grace, and Breaking Home Ties. Tom himself appears in his father’s 1936 New Rochelle, New York painting, Puppy in the Pocket, 1942, and Vermont paintings Reading His Sister’s Diary, and Christmas Homecoming, 1948.