Thank You Mr. Eisenstadt - One Good Teacher (NYC Public School)
My teachers at school always complained about my daydreaming escapades in class, instead of paying attention... On Parent - Teachers nights, when parents would be invited to meet with our teachers for a face-to-face conversation, my mother would always return home with the same report: "Your teacher told me that you are a nice boy and smart, but they wish you would stop staring out of the window - daydreaming."
These many years later, while looking back at myself as a child, I suspect the excessive daydreaming may have been in part an emotional issue caused by challenges of life. The habit was also due to having a creative mind. It didn't take much for my head to start wandering... A single interesting word heard or sentence spoken was enough to send me into a dream-like state. (I'm still the same now, as an old man)
Part of the problem was, some teachers - were mostly, utterly BORING...!!! Except for teachers like Mr. Eisenstadt, my Middle School art teacher. He was a tall, middle-aged man with thick glasses and crazy, wild hair that looked as if he just crawled out of bed from a restless night of sleeping.
Mr. Eisenstadt obviously LOVED art and teaching about it, for him, that seemed to be a joy. He was a joy to behold, as well.
I remember the first day of seventh grade art class after we had piled into his classroom, then settled down as he came storming, excitingly into the room from the hallway in a shockingly, exuberant manner.
Upon plopping down two arm-loads of various, miscellaneous and unidentifiable debris on top of the desk, his booming hello trailed off into a an equally loud oration about how "ART EXISTS ALL AROUND US... IT'S EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK...!!!"
Rushing to the large sash window, Eisenstadt flared his arms out recklessly, wide as if he was about to hug a mysteriously, fat invisible entity standing in front of him.
"LOOK AT THE TREES... THE BIRDS, THE CLOUDS, THE LEAVES...!!!" He bellowed... "IT'S ALL ART"!!!
His loosely hanging, knotted tie had swung up over his shoulder and his huge, dark framed glasses sat precariously askew, low on his nose by the time he returned to the desk, leaning violently forward, bracing his hands on the messy desk before him.
Eisenstadt's oversized suit jacket had peeled back a ways, over his narrow shoulders, hanging limp and wrinkled. It looked as if he had bought that suit long before going on a diet and shedding about a hundred pounds...
The jacket wasn't tattered, dirty and torn, but it did look like he might have fallen asleep with it on the night before...???
Great fear arose in the eyes of my fellow classmates; a few seemed to be ready to bolt for the door at any second, in an attempt to escape this crazy man.
Me? I was enjoying every minute of it. A quick glance around at a few of my miscreant school chums, shot me enough wide grins and smiles to signal they were amused as much as 'I'.
I suspected we had lucked out with at least one teacher in the new school, that we probably would look forward to seeing every day; and... I was right.
Mr. Eisenstadt was not only interesting with his mannerisms, he was also a very gracious, encouraging man who never failed at vocalizing praise towards anyone's artwork, regardless how ugly it appeared to the rest of us.
Those of us who he thought were a bit more gifted or advanced were deemed, "Wonder-boy" or "Wonder-girl" on regular occasion. Though, he made sure to tag everyone else a wonder-child as well once in awhile, to boost their esteem too.
Another thing I remember about that teacher... he never complained about my daydreaming ways...(Perhaps the only one) Maybe he knew what I might be envisioning behind those clouded eyes of mine - when they went silent to the large Sycamore spreading it's thick, long arms outside? Birds coming and going through gently, rustling leaves or a squirrel scurrying along the limbs with a walnut stuck in it's jaw.
I'll never forget that man... He's got at least a small spot living within every piece of art I've ever created in life till now and probably will into the future.
Many years later, my sister's son was attending that same school and had Mr. Eisenstadt as his art teacher. On Parent-teachers night, Mr. Eisenstadt told my sister how he "remembered" me. He asked her to tell me, that I "Owe him a painting" after learning that I still put brush to canvass...
After hearing what he asked for, I had every intention to fulfill his request, yet never did as life took various twists and turns. I feel a bit badly about that. He certainly deserved what had been asked of me.
Ya gotta excuse me now... My eyes are getting a little watery; must be the strain of staring at this damned computer screen...
I don't remember ever thanking the man either; though I hope he heard those words within my young-boy smile... I really hope so... I really do.
THANK YOU Mr. Eisenstadt...!!! Thank you so very much.
Shared by @AngryMan on Steemit Feb. 27, 2021
Images: Compliments of Pixabay.com