Monday, June 19, 2017

Memory Monday

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” 
― Phil Collins
     The quote above could not describe  my situation any better!  As I had said earlier, I did not plan to teach art.  When I was in school at U of Missouri, my first opportunity to take any art classes.,  I took Watercolor I, Drawing I, Ceramics I, Sculpture I, Weaving get the idea.  I wanted to try it all!!!
     My teaching assignment, in a brand new school, with brand new equipment, were seventh graders, probably 25 to a class, five classes.  We did have a text book so I had a teacher's manual with a curriculum to follow and the guy next door who was a trained art teacher to get me through the year!  Art was a semester class so my first semester classes were my guinea pigs!  We had a great time together!  My classes would be so noisy that I would not hear the intercom when the office called.  It wasn't that I didn't have good discipline; it's just that noise didn't bother me...the kids would be quiet when I needed them to be, to listen to instructions and demos on what to do....then they could chatter away as long as they did their work.
     But it wasn't all work...I really loved Kansas City and now that I had my own car, I enjoyed exploring all the interesting places.  One of my favorites was the Nelson Art Gallery.  I would go there frequently to enjoy all the art.  Through my growing up  years, my mom would take us to Chicago to visit a cousin and go to the Chicago Art Institute so I had a fledging appreciation of art. One of the best exhibits at the Nelson was a traveling exhibit of Vincent Van Gogh...and that is where I first developed a love for his work.  I love the technique he used of layering the paint on so thickly.  I really wanted to reach out and touch his paintings but, as you know, the guards at the galleries are not very fond of people doing that! That didn't stop me...with Beth on guard, watching when it was clear, I did touch a paint stroke very quickly!
The Nelson-Atkins Art Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri....Claus Oldenberg's "Shuttlecock"
        And my friend Beth and I would travel back to  U of Mo for football games and to party with friends who had not graduated yet.  She had gotten a cute little convertible for graduation and we would run all over the place in it. Her brother Teddy, who was a couple years younger, went to a college in Iowa....Parsons College...a small liberal arts school for kids who didn't quite make the grade in larger colleges!

     It was located in Fairfield, Iowa and Beth and I would run up there about once a month. Beth had met the guy she would eventually marry and Teddy and I were great friends so they always looked forward to our coming. For one thing, Beth and Teddy's mom would alway send a box of favorite foods with us for the guys!  They had a great fine arts/music and drama department at Parsons.  We saw "The Miracle Worker"  performed in the round, a first for me. One time when we were there we went to a concert given by this young blind black man.  He would play the piano and throw his head back to really bellow out the songs!  Little did we know that we were seeing the soon to be famous  Stevie Wonder!
      Meanwhile, I was sending and receiving letters from the love of my life who was toiling away in basic training at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas.  San Antonio in 1962 was not the destination city it is riverwalk, nothing too spectacular about it at all.  Dick swore if he ever got out of Texas he would NEVER go back.  Needless to say...who knew what the future had in store for us!


  1. I love "The Nelson". Keith and I were fortunate to live just a few blocks from it (and All Souls UU Church) for a year. I walked Leo through the spacious grounds of the museum and the KC Art Institute every day. Inside was one of the nation's best art museum. They have outstanding oriental art as well and that large Buddha, but art from all periods.

  2. Our senior art trip was to the Nelson...went by train! It was so fun and I'd love to see it again.