The Crayon Fairy


14 Mar 2009 01:38 pm

vincentcornerartroom.jpg

We almost lost the yellow house with the bad perspective a week ago last Thursday.

I was out, and had an art substitute who was teaching for me in the “new” artroom which is inside the school. The elementary school has been undergoing a big renovation in the past two years. Many new classrooms, new offices and a lovely new cafeteria with a large stage have been added. The old auditorium has been divided into two parts and I have the largest part and the music teacher will have the part with the stage.

The reason why I was not at school a week ago last Thursday is because my daughter-in-law and son were experiencing the birth of their first daughter, (and my husband and my first granddaughter) Marlee Michelle, who weighed in at 8lbs, 1oz.

It was a joyful and most wonderful day.

Not so at my dear elementary school, which is the school that I went to as a child and the school I love and want to help. When I went to school there as a little girl there was no integration. The school was all white. There were no art, music or P.E. teachers. The classroom teachers taught everything. There was no air conditioning, we had windows around every room. We had prayer in school, a Jewish boy read the story of Luke when we performed the Christmas program. We were allowed to walk home for lunch and walk back to school afterwards. If we were in trouble with our teacher we were in trouble with our parents. My teachers encouraged me to write, draw, and create scenery for plays which we performed ofen. We ran track and were always the number one school in town for track meets.

The demographics at my old school have changed radically but the school is still beloved to me. The students are still the same at heart. They are like I was, with the same hopes and dreams and I am there to help them succeed at them. That is my personal goal for my school and so many of my fellow teachers feel the same way. I’ve heard my principal say often that our school has the hardest working teachers in our school district and I agree. I see them in action and I know that to be true. No one can count public education out when you walk through the school where I teach art.

greekwomaninartroom.jpg

I taught in this sunny mobile art room for the last three years.

Our grand Open House is coming up soon and everyone has been scrambling to get moved into their new classrooms. The moment the classroom teacher moved out of her temporary digs which was the half of the old auditorium into her new classroom I asked the principal for permission to move into the school from my mobile classroom outside. It was a wonderful place to teach for three years but truth be told, much too small and always worrisome when the children needed to go to the bathroom. I had to stand at the door to watch them go into the school and send another child along with my key to get inside the door to the school and hope the child didn’t drop it along the way, especially in the bathroom.

But I had lots of art in the room and I hung the yellow house chalk drawing along one wall and had glorious art prints along all the other walls and I made art history bulletin boards featuring wonderful artists who helped to make our world a more creative place to live. All around the room were the names of the great artists that I wanted the students to remember done in good calligraphy.

I am a neat-freak so I always had things where I wanted and that worked out well in such a small room. I only had one small bookshelf so I had to keep my books moving on a revolving basis and when the principal gave me permission to start to move in the big auditorium half the first thing I took with me were my personal artbooks. (too bad I wasn’t able to move the bookshelf)

Since most of the first grade, second grade and kindergarten teachers were also moving their rooms with only the help of the two school custodians I knew I was more or less on my own so during every school break I was heading back and forth to the old room, grabbing art supplies and paper, some art prints and miscellaneous.

All that had been left in the old auditorium was a tiny old oak desk, five small rectangular tables, and chairs. I had talked the principal into giving me the old teacher mail boxes since we now had a new office and it included a new mail center so when he said yes, I could have it, I was elated. It works well as a place to keep all my classes work and has cabinets below I can use for storage which is a good thing, considering what happened on that fateful Thursday a week ago.

While I was out rejoicing over the birth of my granddaughter, a big truck pulled up behind the school, and stopped in front of my old art room. In to it walked a bunch of men who began to carry out my art cabinet, desk, file cabinet, (full of art history videos) and everything else in the room. Our school custodian saw what was happening and asked them if they had been in contact with the principal and the head man said no, but he had been ordered by the official in charge of buildings and grounds to get the mobile building ready to be moved away so the school would be ready for the Open House on March 15th.

Our custodian informed them that the teacher hadn’t completely moved out of the room and needed the items so they needed to stop and leave the room alone until it could be emptied. But they didn’t stop. The custodian started to move things that he knew I would need such as the rolling art text book cabinet out of the room. One of the fifth grade teachers also saw what was happening and organized her students to get in the room and save the art prints, the art supplies, the white board, the yellow house chalk drawing, The Mona Lisa wall hanging, and many other important art items. The students hand carried all of the art text books (2nd grade - 6th grade) from the old art mobile building into the new room.

artroomwindowdecorations.jpg

A lot of happy art happened in this room.

All this chaos was happening while the art substitute was teaching the students. She told the fifth graders where to put the saved items and luckily there was plenty of room for them at the end of the very large room. My computer was saved. That was a lucky thing as I had just recently gotten it and hadn’t even been able to install it yet. After five years as an art teacher I had been able to finally scrounge up a used computer and almost lost it.

The next morning, a Friday morning, as I was pulling into the parking lot, I noticed that the mobile building no longer had it’s steps. As I got out of the car and walked towards the school, I saw that the doors were open and the building looked empty. My heart started beating harder as I walked over to the building and looked inside. It was completely empty.

As I walked into my art class inside the building I saw a pile of items inside the room. I sighed a breath of relief when I saw my big black art cabinet sitting in the middle of the room. I looked for my desk and file cabinet and book shelf and art cart and other items but they weren’t there. They had been carried off and stored in a warehouse. Will I get them back? I have been told that I will. I won’t hold my breath.

I returned to the pile and began sorting through. On the table at the end of the room was the Yellow House chalk drawing folded neatly (it’s just made from butcher paper) and it had no damage done to it. I found the Mona Lisa wall hanging and my computer later on that day on the stage in the music room.

I know I can count myself very fortunate to have finally found myself included (along with my fellow music teacher) in a school which honors its art and music. We have a place now, not in closets, not on carts but in rooms of our own. We are also blessed with a fifth grade teacher who has always honored our efforts at our school (along with many other teachers) and in my opinion she elevated her students and taught them what a good deed really is. They did a lot of hard work by saving all the Van Gogh, Monet, Rembrandt, and O’Keeffe prints (and many others) oil pastels, water colors, paper.

In a very small way the fifth grade students were re-enacting a race that took place during World War ll when the Nazis were destroying and stealing the great art in Europe. No, there were no stormtroopers rampaging through the parking lot at our school but the entire contents of the artroom would have been taken had the men not been stopped. At the very least, the students, their teacher and the custodian stopped a bureaucrat’s wasteful destruction.

The film about rescued art of WWII, The Rape of Europa, tells the story in documentary form about the heroic acts of individuals to save the art of our past, our art lineage, from defilement and destruction by the Nazis. I am going to try to find this film to view it. I hope it is being shown in high schools. For some reason, I am not extremely optimistic that it is, although it ought to be.

“The Rape of Europa” (based on the eponymous book by Lynn Nicholas) is a film that needs to be seen by every high school student, college student, history teacher, history buff, art teacher and museumgoer worldwide. It is not about the famous allegorical painting by Titian (1487-1576); it’s a riveting documentary about the theft, destruction and miraculous survival of many of Europe’s artistic and architectural treasures during World War II. “Europa,” by Richard Berge, Bonnie Cohen and Nicole Newham, elicits a visceral weeping for what could have become a total holocaust for Europe’s art and for its national treasures. The film details the race against the Nazi-programmed destruction and theft — mitigated by acts of heroism, sacrifice and determination — that underscores one of the film’s truisms:
“Art is what makes us human.”

02 Nov 2008 03:10 pm

Why is it that Barack Obama retreats to the blanket of his childhood when he is hit with hard questions? When asked about Bill Ayres, the founder of The Weathermen, the domestic terror group of the sixties and a cog in the wheel of the Chicago machine to which Obama made his initial act of obeisance when starting out in politics, Obama’s first response was he was only eight years old when Bill Ayers was committing his acts of terror.

Obama purposely misses the point when he grouses about Sarah Palin and running mate John McCain’s criticisms of his “sharing the wealth comments.” Boy did that get under his collar.

Obama’s response was to ridicule the charges of Joe the Plumber and John McCain and Sarah Palin’s comments on the campaign trail about his policies of tax redistribution by returning back even further in time to his years in kindergarten. He claimed that he shared his toys and his peanut butter sandwiches.

Then he went on to claim that the McCain-Palin tax plan makes a virtue out of selfishness.

Still, many Americans are getting the message about Obama’s socialist plans.

An interesting letter to the editor published in our local paper:

Church Venue for charity

I heard that some elementary schools have tried this out. At the first of the year, kids are given a list of items they will need for school. The wealthier families and the families that put a higher priority on what their kids took to school brought very nice backpacks, pencil, pen sets, markers, rulers and so on. The families that could not afford the nicer things or just had different priorities sent their kids to school with the minimum and the cheapest-quality items.

Here comes the socialism: The teachers had all of the students turn all of their school supplies in and then they were redistributed to the class. All of the items were handed out at random. (This is like “spreading the wealth around.”) The kids who brought nice things ended up with some junk, some OK things and maybe one nice item.

The next year parents found out that the school supplies would be taken up and redistributed. So they didn’t go and buy the nicer items. They all started buying cheaper goods because they would not be able to keep them anyway. The lower-income kids didn’t turn out to have better school supplies. Instead they all had to use cheap school supplies. They also ran short on supplies because everyone started bringing the bare minimum.

That is the same way that it works in any economy. If you do this enough, the hard-working people will give up and start joining the ranks of the people getting the handouts. I believe in charity, but charity belongs to the church. Giving to someone in need from a compassionate heart is charity. But when government forces you to give up your money, then gives it to others who did not work for it, that is socialism.

Steve Craine

I had this situation come up when I was teaching first grade for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) at Patch Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany in 2001. Being new to the school, the other first grade teachers told me that when the kids came in with their school supplies, since the desks didn’t have enough room to hold them, I was to just take the supplies and put them together and organize them to use as needed.

Boy, was that a mistake.

One of my students, Lizette, began to cry. In fact, she cried all day. I was finally able to discover that she loved art very much and had brought with her a sixty four box of crayola crayons and although I searched throughout the container in which I had put them, she could not identify her own box (they had already been opened and passed out and used) and would not be satisfied that her own box had been returned to her. She wanted her own box of 64 crayons with her, in her own desk. She knew each color and she was convinced that one particular color was missing. She would not be comforted.

I decided then and there that my own misgivings when told that the students own belongings had to be put in a class pot had been right and that the students deserved to learn about caring for their own things within an educational setting. I found a way to arrange all of the students’ supplies in their desks.

When I noticed that their crayons were starting to show wear and tear a few months later, I went to the PX and purchased boxes of 64 crayons and before school began, placed them on all of the student’s desks and then sprinkled some glitter around them. The crayon fairy had made her first appearance at Patch Barracks Elementary School but not the last!

And, that Lizette! What a tremendously talented and quick learner she was!

Socialism stifles not only human ingenuity, and innovation, but also creativity. But Obama wouldn’t understand that. What a sour, stiff person he is, really. He seems to care little about the human touches, the creative sides of life, the babies born who were intended to die, and even, his very own aunt who has recently been discovered living in a Boston slum on public assistance - illegally. He hasn’t bothered to dig into his own deep pockets to share his own wealth with his own family but turned away, forcing Americans, by way of taxation, to pay their own hard earned money to support his aunt.

Obama claims not to know his own aunt’s status.

Yes, his political operatives are trying to shield him with their complaints of dirty politics but what it says to me is that Barack Obama is really a cold, unfeeling, hateful man.

A man who can’t take care of his own family cannot be trusted to take on the leadership of this great country.

But it turns out it wasn’t dirty politics after all, just good journalistic foot leather carried out by our British cousins. I recall reading that when Edward, the Prince of Wales was carrying on with That Woman, Wallis Simpson, the British media kept a zipped upper lip, refusing to publish anything at all about the royal affair.

It was left to the American press to inform the Brits about what was going on under their noses. It turns out that the leftist media in this day and time have their noses so deeply implanted….. well, you know where I am going. So, it’s nice that the Brits are helping out.

An interesting development has occurred in the hills of Northwest Arkansas. Obama’s not getting all the youth vote in Arkansas. Prairie Grove High School students have handed Obama a resounding defeat in a presidential mock election, voting for McCain 319 votes to 150 votes for Obama. Read about it here.

Obama might want to get his favorite blanket ready for Tuesday night.

UPDATE #1 Someone Obama wouldn’t want to meet but maybe should. The Anchoress. I’ve been waiting for her to weigh in. It’s been worth the wait.

UPDATE #2 Sissy Willis reminds us that this election, with all its ups and downs in the polls, is still not over, and God, as well as the undecideds, moves in mysterious ways.