Dear friends, after digressing from my childhood memories for several posts I am now back on track and will continue to tell you about my journey through this miraculous life.
As you may remember I had a fairly strict upbringing. At the time of my growing up children lived under an authoritarian regime especially at school. We had to treat our teachers with utmost respect. Their word was law except at classroom debates and discussions. If we had sound arguments and could back them up effectively we were allowed to express contrary opinions.
However, children at all times did outrages and even cruel things and we were no exceptions. I am still ashamed to remember the prank our whole class played on a teacher.
Our art teacher was a middle aged lady of great proportions who loved to eat. She would sit at her front desk in the art room munching away on enormous sandwiches filled with strong smelling cheeses or odiferous garlic sausages and cold cuts.
Instead of giving us inspiring instruction of drawing or painting techniques or providing us with shining examples of fine arts she would devour her heavy lunches leisurely reading the newspaper. Absentmindedly she would sweep away crumbs from her desk with her sausage-like fingers.
We had the freedom to draw or paint whatever we fancied. She never showed any interest in our “masterpieces”. Her sole interest was directed to her prolific victuals.
Because of our teacher’s lack of good modeling behavior and lack of interest one of our class mates was inspired to rouse her out of her lethargy. She wanted to pay her back on her assaults on our aesthetic sensibilities. This inspired student asked us to bring smelly soft cheeses to school for the next day. And I have to admit we all followed her lead without any reservations or scruples and did what she told us. Before our art lessons started the next morning she directed us to quickly smear the smelly soft cheeses on all the surfaces of the art room especially on our teacher’s chair and desk.
We could hardly cope with the overpowering stench ourselves before our teacher entered the room. Maybe she was already desensitized by these odors. To our secret delight she sat down on the greasy chair without noticing the unusual sheen and smell.
When she calmly started unpacking her lunch, we politely asked her if something was spoiling in her bag. Suddenly she seemed to become aware of the stronger than normal aromas. Bewildered she looked around and seemed to notice that they came wafting from all sides and not just from the usual place in front of her. That’s when she smelled the “rat”.She left the room and returned in a short while with the principal who was a very proficient “rat smeller”.
Our classmate who had hatched the idea of the plot bravely and willingly accepted the role as scapegoat in spite of our strong protests. She took her lashes in front of the class with dignity and even humor as we noticed a twinkle in her tearing eye and a tiny smile in spite of the obvious pain and humiliation.
The rest of us had to scrub and clean the art room and polish the furniture without the aid of disintegrating aromatic cheeses.
From that day on our art teacher seemed to have lost her appetite during art lessons. She even started teaching us techniques as for example in different perspectives.
In spite of my sketchy art lessons I have developed a lifelong love and appreciation for art. In retrospect I thank my teacher who gave us the freedom and opportunity to explore our own creativity.