Old Art Student

I did a very Destiny thing the other day. I wrote to my 2nd-grade art teacher. 

I know. It sounds like an exercise your therapist would give you to recover from an artistic aneurysm but that’s just how my mind works. 

I think, “Hmm. I wonder how Ms. Hollenbeck is doing…” Then next thing you know I’m shooting off a nostalgic email entitled, “Old Art Student” to an archaic-aol-address I found online. 

I didn’t think she’d get it. I assumed, at best, it went to the same place my 6 yr old’s letters to Santa go. 

But within two hours Ms. Hollenbeck had written back. She’d retired from Chicago Public Schools in 2010 and is now the founder and chief operator of Art Helps Heal a charity that provides art supplies to hospitalized teens. 

I’ve since donated to Ms. Hollenbeck’s foundation, exchanged 2 more emails with my new pen pal, and invited her to catch up on my life as a late-blooming artist by visiting my blog which she did. 

In our last email, Ms. Hollenbeck sent me this picture and said, “That’s you in the front row, 4th from the left – so much personality” she said.

I loved that she remembered me. I love that she remembered my mom “who came to volunteer on a regular basis”. I love that she sent me this picture. And I love how my mind works; where it takes me, even if it is back to 2nd grade.

Do you remember any of your grade school teacher’s names? Ever thought about reaching out to them? What would they say about you? Teachers need some love lately. So if ya know one, holla at’em, they may “hollenbeck”. 

Need some inspiration? Here is our kindhearted conversation. Take what you will from an “Old Art Student”.

Here is Ms. Hollenbeck’s sweet ‘n’ swift response: 
And then me: 
And then her:
I can’t wait to send Ms. Hollenbeck my book.    

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