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: