Some background. I grew up in Bridgewater, New Jersey. As the population rose in the sixties, a second high school was built. There was then Bridgewater-Raritan High School West and the new Bridgewater-Raritan HS East. West and East, for short. I went to East.
In the nineties the kid population began to shrink and the high schools were consolidated into one, a revamped West, and although it was now back to just BRHS, we alums all still call it West.
I was in NJ last fall (2011) speaking at Eisenhower School (A Bridgewater intermediate school – 5th and 6th grades). I was done at lunchtime, so I had arranged to go over to the high school to speak to some art classes. The school is large, about 3000 students. They have eight art teachers! This was the first time I had been back to speak at my school.
I was showing slides, so not surprisingly, I included some work I did when I was in high school. For some time I’ve had a few HS slides in my talks. The summer before, I got around to photographing more of that stuff and I was able to include a few new things.
One of the pieces that I showed was of a print I had done in woodcut:
I also showed this slide of an oil painting (Also HS) I did of the same image – you know, when you can’t think of an idea, recycle an old one:
I finished my presentation and was talking some of the kids, when 4 of the art teachers came up to me. They were smiling and one of them was holding this:
Yep, that’s the woodblock I cut for the prints (it’s about 20 inches on the long side). I have almost all of the art I did when I was a kid, but while I had prints of the image, I didn’t have the block.
Well, for the past 37 years it had been floating around the art rooms – first at “East” from when I was there and then when they consolidated the schools it moved over to “West”. No one knew what it was, where it came from, or who did it. It had always just been there. When I showed the slide, the teachers all recognized the image and they gasped.
Had I not included that new slide in my talk no one would ever have known. How’s that for fate?
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