I didn’t take a ton of art classes in high school, even though I was convinced that I was going to be a graphic artist, whatever that was. My what-will-you-be-doing-in-10-years-quote in the yearbook was “subliminally seducing the minds of American consumers by airbrushing phallic symbols into Absolut vodka ads.” Truthfully, I didn’t even know how to use an airbrush (still don’t) and when this sophomore painting of a horse and rider required it, Mr. Snyder had to do it for me:
Mr. Snyder taught art and was the yearbook advisor, so I spent a fair deal of time in his classroom throughout high school. When I was junior editor of the yearbook, we were the first class to use an Apple Computer to publish part of the book. Remember those tiny little screens? Before that, everything had been plotted out on pica paper. We still shot all of our photos on black and white film and two photogs spent hours every day in an actual dark room making prints to size. (My god, I’m remembering this tedious process and it pains me to even type it out.) So we had this one Apple Computer that the entire yearbook staff shared. We would do the layouts in Pagemaker, typing in all the copy and making borders for where pictures would eventually go. Then we would print out the page I think, or maybe put it on a floppy disk, who knows, and send it with the photo print(s) for that page to Jostens or whoever was doing the real work of turning our ideas into an actual book. So yes, even the technology of a scanner was beyond us in 1991.
One of my most fondly remembered compliments was from a fellow classmate the summer after graduation when he told me, “That was a nice piece of yearbook.”
Mrs. Reid taught basketweaving and stained glass and ceramics. When it came time for ceramics, I clearly remember Mrs. Reid telling us that we were under no circumstances to make bongs and that she could spot a bong a mile away and don’t even try to pretend that you’re not making a bong.
So I did not make a bong.
Today I went to an art show in Bandon called The Teachers that featured art educators from in and around my hometown. Mrs. Reid and Mr. Snyder were there and even though I’m a grown-up and have kids, and have graduated high school and have a mortgage and pay taxes and everything…I still cannot bring myself to call either of them by their first name.
They’re still Mrs. Reid and Mr. Snyder and probably always will be.