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The Storm

May 10, 2011
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This is an AP photo of my “house” and car that has been published in newspapers across the nation. I always thought I’d be famous, but never imagined it would be for this. 🙂

As you probably know, I wrote my account of April 27, 2011, the day the EF-4 tornado devastated Tuscaloosa, for the Crimson White — if you haven’t read it, you can find it HERE. 

According to the CW’s counter, my  article has been shared 500 times on Facebook. To me, that is so unexpected and gratifying. I only know about 20 of those people personally. Strangers have found me on Facebook and messaged me to tell me how much the article resonated with them. Two of the guys who rescued me from the rubble of my house read my story and contacted me — that was really special. Overall, I am incredibly humbled by the support I’ve received from my family, friends, and people I didn’t know well or at all before the tornado. I’ve received gift cards, letters, and one pink bag filled with coins, a heart-shaped keychain, and a piece of paper with a neon-colored tornado drawn on it by the little girls of my mom’s friend. I haven’t been able to reply to everyone who has called or texted me to see how I’m doing, and if you’re one of those people who I seem to have neglected, I sincerely apologize. I am so thankful and there is more love in my heart now than I thought possible.

I’m working at Kumon Center again this summer and am really excited about it. Sometimes I work with upper level math students and other times, I work with reading students who are primarily between age 6 and age 14. I love being able to watch the kids grow and improve each week.. They each have their own personality and I love being apart of their lives. I believe in the Kumon method and its emphasis on repetition and thoroughness, and I am proud of the difference I can make in little lives through the hours I put in at the center.

I had intended to use this summer to also write two 10-15 page art history writing samples to submit to grad schools when I apply in December, and I still hope to do that. It’s difficult when UA has not been helpful at all in providing me with a mentor or giving me any tips whatsoever as to how to select a topic or even begin researching. In the meantime, I have the GRE for which to prepare! I take that on May 25, but I lost my study book in the tornado so studying has not happened in the past few weeks — it will, I promise. I hope to spend weekends working at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Art and help with their education programs.

Right now, I’m reading “The Forger’s Spell” by Edward Dolnick, which tells the story of Van Megeren, a Dutch con artist who sold forged Vermeer paintings to the Nazis in the 1940s.  Van Megeren’s process of trial and error in order to achieve the perfect aged-looking oil painting is very interesting to me, as I’m interested in the scientific part of art history studies. Oil paint is different from other mediums in that it can take a century to fully harden and since Van Megeren doesn’t have that much time, he uses Bakelite, which we now know as plastic, mixed in with his paints. He also hand-grinds his own pigments because before the rise of manufactured paints, artists would mix their own paints and the particles would be of irregular sizes — Van Megeren knew this difference in particle size would be visible under a microscope. The Dutch art market was booming under the Nazi regime because pieces were portable and easy for a new owner to take home.  One of my initial thoughts was why the Nazis didn’t just take whatever works they wanted, but apparently, even the Nazis had some scruples as to stealing from their “fellow Nordics,” and would pay large sums of money for art because they knew it would be worth even more in the future. The Nazis also knew that the Dutch would simply hide their valuable masterpieces if they knew the Nazis planned to steal them. There was such a rush to acquire art and the Dutch museums had already hidden their pieces by Old Masters, so Van Megeren was able to  profit (relatively) easily from his fake Vermeers.

Also, sadly, my camera did not weather the storm, so that explains the lack of pictures for a while.

Watch The Philosopher Kings. 

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