I had one teacher that I loved, Mrs. Palmgren, my art teacher. When I was in first grade she had us making collages and when she handed out the paste she said, “If you eat the paste you don’t get any more.” I ran out of paste and was afraid to ask for more so I cried. She asked me why I was crying and I said I need more paste. She said stop crying, I’ll give you more. Then I thought she was the nicest person I ever met! She stopped teaching elementary school art and I thought I’d never see her again but when I got to high school she was there! She was the only adult that seemed to understand me and showed me a lot of things of great interest in art.
When I was a senior she arranged a field trip to MOMA! It’s a 4 hour bus trip from Ephrata, PA. to NY.
As we walked through MOMA it was so much to take in! When we got into the gallery that had Mountains Table Anchors Navel and I saw this I cracked up! I mean I couldn’t stop laughing! The other kids were laughing too but they were mostly laughing because I was laughing. It was the funniest thing I ever saw! And so totally unexpected in an art museum! Not that I’d ever been in a real art museum before. I was so wound up by this that I was acting up all the way home! It was the most fun I had as a kid! My parents would never have taken me to NY.
I thought the teachers were probably arguing about me in their lounge because I was a real bad truant. I thought Mrs. Palmgren probably defended me. I had a real bully of a home ec. teacher, Mrs. Lentz. She picked on me and other girls in other classes. Back then, some teachers were real bullies and got away with it. Some of the teachers didn’t like me because I skipped their classes. I bet Mrs. Palmgren asked Mrs. Lentz, do you get modern art? Mrs. Lentz would have said no. Well, I get it. It’s a joke!
Then once when I was in class they sprung an IQ test on all of us. The whole senior class had to take it and I couldn’t just walk out. Those nosy b—–s wanted to find out if I really am a genius like Mrs. Palmgren said I was. I don’t know what my IQ is and I’m not interested in taking another test. I don’t have much of an ego for an artist, but I thought they made us take the test because they had me tracked with the non college bound students and I hated school.
That’s how it is for a lot of young artists. The system fails them.