THE ANGEL'S STORY Chapter 16
The Garrison Forest School and Dr. Schlogen!
Although The Garrison Forest School was already in session, Headmistresses, Jean Marshall and Nancy Offutt were kind enough to grant a late acceptance and a scholarship to me in September of 1957. New uniforms were ordered, and Mummy and Daddy delivered me in person. Mummy cried. I settled in with my new roommates, Timmie Scott and Becky Morgan. Remarkably, the friendships developed in boarding school, stay with you for a lifetime. Our fiftieth Reunion happened in 2010. Our class gathered together once more on campus and there, we picked up our friendships again, just as though no time had passed at all.
Looking back, my year at Garrison was exciting and wonderful because our teachers were crackerjacks: each and every one of them! We were introduced to binary numbers and computers with our math wizard, Miss. Barbara Porter. I didn’t understand any of that stuff, but Boy-o-Boy, Mary-Deas Boykin sure did! She sparkled in that class. Remember, this was way back in 1957. Bravo and Hooray for Garrison for keeping us up-to-date on the digital world to come. I Studied Latin, French, English, Vocabulary, Math, Music, Art, Dance, Field Hockey and Horseback Riding. Best of all, any unused tickets to the Baltimore Symphony and The Lyric Theater were given to anyone who wanted to go ... and I wanted to go!
I heard my first performance of Puccini’s “ Madam Butterfly, ” and was steeped in the notes of Bach and Mozart with the Baltimore Symphony. I learned to cherish Shakespeare because of Miss Donaho, and was introduced to Art History and Sculpture with Margaret Rice. Mrs. Van taught us Latin providing a foundation for English and composition and Penny Delafield taught us French. I could not understand a word of French, but by golly I could pronounce it properly! Every day at Garrison offered new challenges. It opened unexpected doors, giving us a glimpse, into the possibilities for our futures.
After a long and busy day, and after dinner, students would repair to the library or study hall to complete their homework assignments. If you finished early, you were allowed to go next door to the adjoining art studio, to work on whatever project you wished. Plasticine, an oil-based clay that never gets hard and can be used again and again, was provided to anyone who wanted to work with the stuff. I started off making a horse of course: my most favorite subject.
One day, Our art teacher, Margaret Rice said, “Sterett, You are always drawing horses, horses, horses! How about something different this time Dear? I have an armature for a figure. Would you like to give it a try?” “Yes, Please,” I replied! At this very moment, my career in sculpture began, although I did not know it at the time. Right away I connected with the clay and started to build a male figure, about 16 inches high. This male figure however, upset the headmistresses who suggested that it might be more appropriate, if I made a female figure, since I was in an all girls’ school. Miss Marshall said, “Please Dear, make a female figure instead,” in a tone that indicated that I had absolutely no choice whatsoever. However, since I was a fairly co-operative little rascal and anxious to please in those days. I said “Sure. Ok. Why not?”
I started to work again, transforming the male figure into a female figure using the very same armature. Sculpture for me was immediately addictive. So every spare moment, you would find me in the Wendy Smith Art Room, working away, on my now, “female figure.” The problem arose with this new work of fine art, when I started to work on it in the evenings after study hall. The problem was this. All the closets were locked up for the night by the school’s janitors so that here was no place to put away your tools. It was not, of course, a problem for me however, because plasticine is always soft and malleable. My solution was to very carefully stick the knife in the top of the head of the female figure. Very …. Very carefully of course, so as not to disturb the design of her hairdo. This seemed a simple and satisfactory solution, until Dr. Schlogen, the School’s psychiatrist, happened to walk into the art room and spied the sculpture. Right away, he alerted the head mistresses that I was clearly, a disturbed individual and was thinking of, or perhaps planning to kill myself, or worse ... someone else! Everything was kept hush, hush. No one ever asked me why the knife was stuck in the top of the head of my sculpture. (To me, it was a very reasonable place for the knife to be. I mean, if one wanted to be horrible, just think of all the places one could stick a knife! Anyway, no one ever mentioned it to me.) The next thing I knew, I was in Schlogen’s office, taking Rorschach’s inkblot tests. After the test was administered, Schlogen declared: “I think we can conclude that you are highly imaginative.” No other comments were made. Shortly thereafter, I was asked to finish up the final two weeks of school and not to return. This was very confusing ... I had worked hard ...had good grades and had assumed that I would be attending Garrison for the next two years. Besides that …I had been so happy there!
In the meantime, Miss Rice asked me if I had ever thought of going to Art School. I replied “No. Not really, I am going to be a Doctor” “Well, she said, “If ever you do, remember the name of “The Rhode Island School of Design. It is the finest school in the nation for fine art.” This was the first time anyone had ever suggested to me that I should think about art school. In tenth grade, I did not really think much about anything except ponies and horses. With the heavy workload, I was much too busy to think ..... The word “college” had not yet entered my vocabulary or my mind!
And so came the end of the year.... I am home again, being outfitted with another new, blue, school uniform. ....and a Day Scholar at the Rosemary Hall School in Greenwich, Connecticut