I can't believe that it has been so long since I sat down to write. We went on a cruise and then I caught a cold and haven't done much of anything for a couple of weeks. Well, where was I? Oh, yeah, I was writing about my experiences at the Children's Studio School in Washington, D.C. By the way, I Googled the name and found another Children's Studio School but it is not the one where I worked as it has only been in existence for 18 years and I was in D.C. almost thirty years ago.
Some of my favorite memories are of the students. My favorite was Mildred, a Hispanic girl who was the same age as Jeremy my son. Her parents worked for a doctor. Her dad was a chauffeur and her mother was a housekeeper. Dad spoke only English to Mildred while her mother spoke only Spanish; hence, she was fluent in both languages. Mildred could explain how to create a silk screen from start to finish. She made many lovely paintings and would often ask me to write her stories for her as she dictated them. She was very articulate and creative. At least once a week Mildred would come into the office to deliver a work of art which she referred to as her "gifts". They were very conceptual. You see she would fold whatever she had drawn into very small shapes with the drawing on the inside and then tape them shut. She would tell you not to open the packages as this was the way they needed to be seen. I must admit that while I was tempted to open one, I never did.
Later in my teaching career, I had a fellow art teacher who taught a lesson where children made dream necklaces. She had students write a wish on a piece of paper and put it in a plastic film case which was glued shut. The lid had a loop sticking out of the top so it could be laced onto a necklace. The children decorated the container and strung it with paper beads to create a necklace. This lesson reminded me of Mildred's art.
Mildred was the one who taught me salsa dancing, encouraging me to sway my hips and shake my shoulders. She loved music and dancing and especially loved a party. Once she attended an art opening with Jeremy and myself (more on this later) and her only comment as we walked around looking at the art was, "they call this a party? where is the music and dancing?"
Over the years, I have taught nearly 9,000 children but Mildred and her "gifts" is still one of my fondest memories.
To be continued......