Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Portrait of Jenny

The first school I attended was Jenny Lind Elementary. Named in honor of "The Swedish Nightingale" Jenny was a noted singer in the mid 1800's. How that moniker came to grace a somewhat stodgy building built among the potato fields of North Minneapolis has always been a mystery to me, but I always had a fond attachment to the name- a name which was so different from the political, military or literary heroes (almost always Dead White Men) who were usually the recipients of such an honor.

On the wall next to the principal's office, situated directly across from the bench where miscreants had to sit while they awaited their doom, was this portrait of the beautiful young singer. I often thought it very special (while sitting on that bench) that here was a real oil painting of a famous person in my school! And a beautiful woman at that! I learned years later that these paintings had been made by the hundreds, if not thousands. I found the copy shown here in the Governor Lind Mansion (no relation) in New Ulm, Minnesota.

I wonder if there will ever be schools named for popular singers from our era? The Sheryl Crow Academy ("All we wanna do is have some fun") or the Cyndi Lauper School for Young Women ("Girls just wanna have fun") or even The Brian Wilson earthquake lab ("I'm picking up good vibrations"). Actually I could see a Björk Music school in Iceland (The Joga Studio?), or even a Joni Mitchell driving school for commercial drivers (Big Yellow Taxi). But none of these would be as sweet, nor any as dear to my heart as the name Jenny Lind- my old school:

By Professor Batty


Anonymous Andy said...

This certainly does bring back some memories... I remember the layout of the school, but not the portrait! Since the second grade, your eye for beauty has always impressed me. I stand in awe.

Blogger Professor Batty said...

I remember the paper airplanes we threw out the 2nd floor window (on the left in the picture) right over the principal's office!

Blogger Jono said...

How about the Tommy James school of rhetoric, Crystal Blue Persuasion, or the Beatles Naval Academy, We All Live in a Yellow Submarine. Now I'll be trying to think of more of these for the rest of the day. Thanks for the brainworm!

Anonymous Dave said...

I can remember hundreds of games of softball played against that side of Jenny Lind. Several balls ended up on the roof, but most bounced off the windows and ultimately they installed screens on all the windows as can be seen in the photo.

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