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Faded Pictures from a Life: The Art Teacher and the History Professor

The Art Teacher and the History Professor


Junior High was a big change for me. The school was located in the southwest of Aberdeen in a middle class neighborhood. I quickly made a new group of friends. My new friends were more affluent. They lived in nicer homes, rode better bikes, dressed better, and had more stuff. The mother of one of my new friends was none other than the art teacher that had encouraged me in the fourth grade. She would also be my primary art teacher in High School. I became a regular at their house. My friend’s father was a history professor at the town’s institution of higher learning, Northern State College. He had severe rheumatoid arthritis and his hands were like swollen claws and his ankles larger than his legs but he was like a bodhisattva. Kindness shone from his eyes and he had such composure that you would never know he was in continual pain. It was in that house that I had my first english muffin and first tasted real butter.

Years later when I was a student at Northern State College studying art I took several history classes from this wonderful man. It was he who lit the light of curiosity in me about history that played a major role in my art of the 80’s and 90’s. It is not possible to estimate the influence these two people had on my life. Because of them I had no doubt I would go to college even though none of my family or anyone in my lineage that I know of had ever gone before.

The Art Teacher and the History Professor, 9″x12″, acrylic on shuen paper, 2021, Mark W McGinnis

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