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This past week, I had the privilege of interviewing Nancy Jones, who was retiring as an art instructor following 38 and a half years of teaching at Punxsutawney Area High School.
Thoughts during and following the interview brought to mind the memories of art class and my high school days at Valley Forge High School in Parma Heights, Ohio.
The minute I walked into her classroom, the familiar old smells of clay being molded and tempera paints being used brought me back to those good old days of dabbling in the arts.
I was a member of the Class of 1972 â€” yup that's right â€” 1972, before there was electricity. We did have color television, though.
Art was my favorite class, closely followed by Speech class which, if you know me at all, makes perfect sense, since I've been called verbal.
Drawing and painting were two of the mediums I dabbled in, but my favorite was clay and sculpture.
It might have been all those episodes of "The Three Stooges" that I viewed as a child â€” all that flinging and throwing of clay through the air and striking others in the face or head â€” which seemed like good "clean" fun at the time.
I admit I was disappointed when a clay fight didn't break out, as often happened during a "Stooges Short" film.
I think my crowning achievement was the horse's head that I sculpted by hand.
I conjured up, with the help of a photograph, the perfect horse's head which I titled, "A Horse is A Horse of Course," which might have been borrowed from the "Mr. Ed" talking horse television show in the 60s.
I carefully sculpted from clay the image of a horse until I could almost hear its breath.
Heck, it looked so real I tried to feed it a carrot, (chuckle).
Once the clay was formed, my horse's head trotted off to the kiln to be fired up.
I named him "Trigger," and as he came out of the kiln, it was a thing of beauty, ready for the black glaze to be put on and then ready for one last firing in the kiln.
Then, the day of reckoning came, as I brought my proud creation home to be placed in a spot of high honor in the living room.
It started off on the mantle, then it meandered its way to the end table and eventually (sadly) into the closet.
The point being, it was my favorite class, and my art career ended with that horse's head, but it was a class where I was able to discover more of what my talents were, which were not going to be in art.
On a different note, my recent visit to PAHS did leave me perplexed in how black "horn-rimmed" glasses are now in style.
When I wore them in high school, I was made fun of and called "Poindexter."
Now, they're in style. Once again, I was born too soon.
Not only are these glasses in style, but there are star athletes who wear "horn-rimmed" glasses with no lenses in them. Say what??
I remember the happy day when I ditched those "yucky" glasses and wore my first pair of wire-rimmed glasses. I looked so much cooler, so I thought at the time.
You see, there are people of all ages who have a variety of glasses and change them on a daily basis, like the character Penelope Garcia, the computer wizard played by Kirsten Vangsness on the CBS show "Criminal Minds."
There is a pair of pink-rimmed glasses that she wears on the show that are to die for.
Penelope must own 300 pairs of glasses, since she appears to wear at least three to four pairs per episode.
I was thinking, If the girls of the Class of 1972 wore those kind of glasses to school, they never would've had any dates.
Once again another case of being born too soon, I guess.
For the fun of it, I went on a search to see if I still had any of those old "horn-rimmed" glasses in a drawer somewhere, with no luck.
However, I did find a picture of me wearing the things back when I had hair.
Actually, I'm thinking of getting a pair of those glasses like NBA star LeBron James wears, with no lenses in them.
Obviously, they won't do much to improve your eyesight, but it will make you look a whole lot cooler. Seriously.
You would think with all of his money, LeBron could afford to purchase eyewear with lenses in them.
Ahh, memories of Valley Forge High School in 1972. Those were the days!
Larry McGuire, a news reporter for The Spirit, currently wears wire-rimmed glasses.