"No details were overlooked by Rockwell: stools, countertop, coffee pot, cup, sugar dispenser -- even the radio mounted on its shelf on the wall."
The Howard Johnson's in Pittsfield, Massachusetts served as the setting for Norman Rockwell's painting The Runaway, completed in 1958. It features a waitor, his hair slicked back, smoking a cigarette. Facing him are two individuals, a policeman and a little boy. l The policeman, dressed in the standard blue uniform, also has a pistol, pouch and handcuff pouch and citation book. He is leaning over and looking directly into the eyes of the little boy. The little boy, dressed in blue jeans and a yellow t-shirt with a jacket on his lap, appears as if he's just run away. He appears calm enough, likely still seeing his plan as an adventure rather than a dilemma.
Thirty year old Massachusetts state trooper Richard J. Clemens served as the model for the policeman. Eight year old Eddie Locke serves as the model for the runaway. It appears as if the two individuals are competing in a staring contest. "No details were overlooked by Rockwell: stools, countertop, coffee pot, cup, sugar dispenser -- even the radio mounted on its shelf on the wall." Today's special is spaghetti with meatballs. Homemade pies sit calling the customers' names.
The question remains: "Will the policeman make the boy return home? Will he feed the boy first? Will the boy eat again as soon as he walks in the door?" Finally, "What will his mother say?"