Archive for Thursday, November 30, 2006

Forty years later: Art student grows up

November 30, 2006

Last Saturday I was ringing the Salvation Army bell at Petro Deli. A lady got out of her car and mentioned that she used to live just a block or so away. When she told me her name, I remembered her immediately and that her daughter, at the age of six, was my first art student about 40 years ago.

I asked about my little art student and she said she was in the car and all grown up.

When she joined us, she said to me, "Am I in trouble?"

I said, "Yes, you are in trouble," and I started to tell her about some of the tricks she played on her family and me.

She outsmarted her family by leaving for school in the morning and returning home at the right time every day. This went on for a week before her family caught on to what she was doing.

As far as I knew she never did tell them how she did it, and I never knew where she spent her days.

Her family had the girl evaluated to see what would help the situation and found out she loved to draw, so they asked me if I would give her art lessons. That was a real challenge for me.

Every time I asked her a question, I got an answer that I thought should never come from a 6-year-old. So 40 years later, I realized what she meant when I asked her if she was going to put curtains in the windows of the house I had her draw and she said, "It's your picture."

Now I realize she did not want to draw that house or any other thing I asked her to draw.

There were times she would not give me the money her mother gave her for the lesson until she got 10 feet from the house and would turn around and say, "Do you want something?"

She says she still doodles, at her desk on her job as a police dispatcher in a nearby city. It was great to see her after all of those years.

Artists seem to always want to figure things out on their own. The experience helped me when I gave art lessons to my own grandchildren. We took turns being the teacher, and that way they could draw what they really wanted to draw and they did not lose interest.

That seemed to work, because all four of those grandchildren are in the art field today.

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