I remember the day Mrs. Puffer came into my 5th grade classroom looking for pieces of artwork to display at an end-of-year event. She was the director of the art programs in our large school district, and I was tickled beyond belief that she asked if she could display my exquisite sculpture.
I had worked on my very first sculpture for days, doing my best to recall all the details of Rodin’s The Thinker which I had seen in one of my mother’s art books. Immediately enthralled by the power and beauty of his sculptures, I knew that I was destined to study the magical world of 3-D art.
My classmates were amazed by my finished product–as was I–and so it was with some trepidation that I let a relative stranger walk off with it, albeit to showcase it in a prestigious setting. My greatest fear, however, was realized when my beautiful replica was never returned to me.
“Lost,” I was told.
Many years passed.
“Hi Laurie,” my Aunt Phyllis called one day when I was home for a visit during college. “Do you remember making a statue of The Thinker in 5th grade?”
I had forgotten, but the question triggered in my memory a visual of the piece that could have launched my career as a renowned sculptor. Of course I remembered.
“Because Mrs. Puffer has retired,” my aunt continued, “and we found a bunch of artwork in one of her storage closets, and your name was on a piece.”
“Thief!” I thought. The director had stolen not only my precious artwork, but my opportunity for fame as well. She must have been jealous of my talent.
I could hardly wait until my aunt arrived with my lost treasure. We all shared quite the laugh, completely at my expense, when she finally handed it over.
So perhaps I didn’t remember ALL the details . . .
And maybe I hadn’t quite mastered the whole “proportions” lesson . . .
I was happy to bring my little thinker back to West Point with me as a reminder of what I could have been. It inspired me to play hookie from a football game one day to try my hand, once more, at what I had attempted so long ago. The results were a bit better this time, but I’m still pretty sure it was a good thing I ended up pursuing an alternate line of work!