In 1966 when I was a second-year teacher of 12th grade English, the Advanced Art class met just after my class and, to save a trip to their lockers, some of my students brought their art work with them. I commented on how much I liked this one, which was a young girl's final project. On the last day of classes she came back by as I was packing up and offered it to me as a gift. I insisted on paying her and she said, "Okay, I'll take $12 for it." She had not signed the painting because of its waxy surface but had stapled a card to the back which had her name on it.
She told me in detail how she had grated crayons on a cheese grater, then held each color in a tablespoon over a candle until it was liquid and dribbled the colors to create this cat. I love cats and have always loved this particular piece of art. When in 1976 our family was moved by Western Airlines to Honolulu for 3 years, we took this cat with us. The movers came, wrapped and packed everything carefully including this piece. It took two weeks for the furniture to make the ocean journey in a Matson container. Everything arrived in wonderful shape.
I picked up and examined the package containing the cat: not even a dent or tear in the paper. However, when I opened it I realized that the cat had made the journey face-down as all the wax dribblings were hanging downward like two-inch stalagtites, yet the shape was still distinguishable and the colors had not run together. My husband and I carefully warmed each wax appendage--with a candle and a hairdryer--and gently tucked the softened strands back into position. I'm sure it was changed slightly from the young artist's conception but it is all the more prescious because of its adventurous journey. Not wanting a repeat of the problem, I hand-carried it on its return trip. Only when packaging the piece for its airplane ride did I notice that something else had happened during the ocean journey--the artist's name had been lost. It had been so long that I no longer remembered the name nor had any record of it.
So, somewhere there lives a woman from Grand Forks North Dakota's High School class of "66" whose art has brought me much joy--and a little panic--and I can't even give her attribution for her effort.