Monday, March 9, 2020
Remembering Old Teachers

This past weekend, I've found it rewarding to remember old teachers in my life. Two of them, I've only met through their words. One of them I met in my college years.

Henry David Thoreau's words greeted me on a poster during my junior high years. It was encouraging to me as I moved through the hallways of confusing days:

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862
"Only that day dawns to which we are awake." Medallion 44mm (Hall of Fame for Great Americans at NYU)
(Dealer's photo)

Both of those two quotes are from the "Conclusion" chapter of Walden. I enjoyed poking around the website and assembled a page of favorite quotes.

As I hopped around the rich resources at the website, I pondered at Thoreau having only made it to forty four years old. Such a tragedy, to have succumbed to tuberculosis. Would he have had a longer life if he had taken care to stay out of rainstorms?

Still, as I read his words, it became clear to me that he spent those brief years more aware, more fully alive than those who live twice his years, but in a state of distracted stupor. It gives me comfort during these uncertain days of "covid19" virus worries. I am blessed to have already had almost twenty more years than Thoreau, and while I hope for thirty more, the thought of making the most of whatever remains to me is encouraging.

The Wikipedia author explained "He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay".

Most definitely, we can particularly make use of his wisdom today!

One of the people who was influential in Thoreau's life was Ralph Waldo Emerson, who he met through a mutual friend. Emerson encouraged Thoreau's writing.

Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882
Medallion 44mm (Hall of Fame for Great Americans at NYU)
(Dealer's photo)

Both Thoreau and Emerson were Transcendalists, which grew out of the "Unitarian emphasis on free conscience and the value of intellectual reason." Emerson, and his father before him, were both Unitarian ministers. However, he resigned after three years service, as he didn't care for "worship in the dead forms of our forefathers", as he wrote in his journal. (via God in Concord: Ralph Waldo Emerson's Awakening to the Infinite, by Richard G. Geldard)

Perhaps he would have been more content with today's Unitarian/Universal churches, with their greater emphasis on diversity.

Saturday evening, Julia and I chanced upon a program about Vermeer's masterpiece "Girl with a Pearl Earring". They studied to see how the original is different (and not) from a high-res 3D print of the painting. One thing that doesn't come through a flat or even 3D print is the effect of the glazes the artist used.

As they spoke about old master glazes, I remembered how I was taught old master glazes, see One of my paintings has a rich glaze over it. There's a slight unifying effect as the slightly alizarin crimson glaze blesses it, adding a richness of depth to it. The best camera cannot capture that.

I remembered my teacher Sharlene Kassiday, who taught me at Joliet Junior College. I wonder what became of her. I was able to turn up some facts about her, as well as screen captures from old yearbooks, but there's so much in mystery. From yearbook evidence, she taught from at least 1965 to 1978.

1995 - She is the one smiling in the upper right hand corner

1966 (Misspelled name, but with degree information)

1967 (Same photo as in 1966)






1975 - I remember James Dugdale, he taught design and praised my ability to discern colors

1977 - This photo is exactly how I remember her, being taken during my years at JUCO

This result came up in one search, from a request for models, September 14, 1984

I say 'exactly', but this is not quite so. She looks much younger than I remember her! I think it is a trick of the nineteen year old mind to perceive 'age' differently than how a sixty one year old mind does!

I couldn't find any more photos of her, they might have spelled her name "Kassidy", in which case that would not have come up in my search. I did at least find the newsletter, so we know she was still teaching in 1984. Her life between 1984 until 2000 is a complete mystery. I was able via Julia's account to learn more details. Both of Sharlene's parents emigrated from the Ukraine. She was born in Chicago, (28 December 1930), as were her three siblings, Ruth, Blossom and Jerome. She graduated from Chicago's Art Institute. Only Jerome outlived her, passing in 2007. She died in Encinitas, California, on December 11, 2000. There is a Find a Grave memorial. Donations are requested for "Self Realization Fellowship", so likely she was a yoga practioner.

Internet search turns up little else. What drew her to California? Was it the SRF? And when? Did she teach there? I'm glad that at least I know more now than I did before.

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