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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mrs. Festini's Hat Box, parts 1214 - 1217

1214. Often as she was lecturing about some image projected on the wall of the classroom I would lose interest in what she was saying and instead begin to wonder about the hat box. A military hat box is not the sort of object one would normally associate with a middle aged female art teacher. Also it could not have been hers originally, but certainly could have belonged to her father, or perhaps an uncle.

1215. The box was full of papers of all sorts. Almost the entire contents were pages and clippings from art books and journals. Sometimes she wanted to find a particular image in order to make some point. I remember once she was looking for a Rembrandt etching she wanted to talk about. Finding the image of the etching could take five minutes and in the process she would dump out and sort through all of the assorted papers in the box.

1216. One could see that she used the hat box for everything. Here were five color reproductions of the works of Fantan -Latour, and also last month's phone bill.  Then again some old postcards of a summer camp in between faded Rothko reproductions and a famous Russian Icon.  Term papers from a psychology class, a homework assignment about Marat in the French Revolution, report cards from grade-school. The hat box had become a repository of Mrs. Festini's entire life.

1217. Some of her lectures had a certain intensity, as if she was not teaching an art-class to some retired persons on a Saturday afternoon, but rather pleading a case in a court of law, an important case in which she was both the defendant, the prosecutor, and the council for the defense all in one.

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