The last few weeks have been sort of hectic, what with me being a famous artist and all.
So, I was a visiting artist at the Montgomery School in Chester Springs. How exciting to think that someone admired my work enough to believe it could inspire students!
The experience was unique to say the least. From the greeter to the cafeteria staff and every student in between, I have never felt more welcomed in a new environment, especially one that is so far from my idea of average.
I grew up “modestly” (I think that is the best way to put it) always shopping on the sale racks at AE, only window shopping at Abercrombie, and totally unaware that jeans over $50 even existed! There were days I would bum lunch money from friends, or happily eat only a baked potato for dinner, not knowing my life was any different than my peers. I walked anywhere I could, and didn’t think twice about hopping on the 104 to get, well anywhere I needed to. For the most part, I was content, and didn’t want for much.
It was a functional adolescence and the gateway to my better years.
My time at Montgomery School, had it been transplanted in my brain to the late nineties and turn of the century, would have had me bitter and resentful. If I had been able to comprehend the scale of how fortunate these kids are against the life I was living then, I may have gone into a small early-life crisis and thrown a hissy-fit about my misfortune. As totally uncalled for as those actions might have been, there would be, on some level, a mild justification to my feelings…
As I stood in the back of the Friday morning assembly, waiting to be announce/introduced to the school, I felt a discord with the people that surrounded me. The mom in front of me sporting an authentic Gucci boots, a Louis Vutton purse and high end Mercedes keys hanging out of that overpriced leather contraption, MIGHT have had something to do with it. In any event, my mind went into overdrive. How could they want someone like me to inspire their children? We live in a town home, drive a Honda, our daughter wears hand-me-downs, my pants are never hemmed correctly, and you want your kids to look up to me?
But as the visiting musicians started a tune, something in me changed. With each group of people joining in, parents and teachers alike gleefully clapping to the beat, the message became clear. I would be happy to send my child to a school like this, I would be thrilled for CK to be surrounded by people that were happy, and fortunate and seemingly grateful. I’ve always been a public school advocate, but after last Friday, I can honestly say, I see why parents pay an exorbitant tuition for better a education. And while it may have been just another Friday at MS, it was anything but ordinary for me. I spent the rest of the day happily talking about what I do, how I started, and where I hope to be someday.
I know that those kids already have more in their trust funds than I will ever hope to earn in my life, but the point is, you would never know it. Every student was attentive, interested, and most importantly, inspired by my presence, regardless of my ill-fitting pants and ignorance over how to use a smartboard! (What’s more the teachers were all pleasant, excited to be there, and free from the typical teachers (union) complaints!)
So thank you, MS for tearing down my negative stereotype about rich kids. Oh, and for the awesome chocolate chip cookie we had for dessert at lunch 😉
CK and her best friend Henry, hanging out while I was being my famous self for the day.