I ran across this photo (by Jeff Shannon, circa 1971) of me and Chiron, my high school art project. I don’t remember the kid who is leering at me, but don’t you love his pants?
I’m not sure why Chiron is on a dolly, but vaguely recall hauling him down the highway to bring him to class. I did finish him, even added a bow and arrow for a final touch and painted him to look like patinaed bronze. After graduation, we moved Chiron to West Virginia (I have no idea how) where my mom and I hosted an art barn for summer visitors. The winter I went to college, the barn was a victim of arson. Chiron went down in flames. Though as you know, he was immortal.
It honestly didn’t dawn on me at the time that this was odd behavior i.e. hauling a centaur down the road to school. All I remember was I wanted to build it, and this was just part of the process. To note, nobody argued that I broke any rules and there were a lot of cops around in those days who could have pulled me over.
Public schools were in a wonderful transition during the 1960s-early 70s, reevaluating the way kids learned and expressed themselves, at least where I grew up in the DC area. We could haul centaurs down the highway. We could play our music in the hallways and stop to jam during English class. We could declare an open-classroom and sponsor a day of guest speakers who talked to us about cultures we’d never thought about. We could wear whatever we wanted to wear (we fought and defeated the dress code, thank you very much) and we could smoke outside! Cigarettes. I remember bumming a puff, right outside the doors to my high school. Yeah, that’s terrible, but at the time, it was beautiful.
I’m sure our parents were cringing, but I think that the freedom to make choices about how we lived our lives made us more responsible for our decisions. We didn’t all agree with each other or make good choices, but we didn’t just go along with what someone told us was the right thing to do, like many of our parents had to do. We made our deals.
Ah well. You’ll probably say it’s a sign of old age when we look back and feel that our generation was unique and there will never be another one like it.
So I guess I’m old. But ya know what? I’m still young enough to vote.