MARTHA ABBOTT
Art
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I remember:
 
Miss Abbott, my art teacher, who pointed out my creativity and encouraged me to not let go of that, nor my humor. I will also not forget Miss Abbott calling me and Shirley Fenton her "opposite twins".
   Beverly Reynolds Yonts
Miss Abbott doing Knightlites. We didn’t know the theme until opening night.
 Sharon and Shirley Ducate
 
Miss Abbott had the greatest impact on me of any teacher, bar none. I've often thought about how some who felt similarly might do something to honor her memory.
Charles McGehee
 
My favorite teacher was Miss Abbott (Art). I loved her quiet, lady-like, comforting manner and appearance; her classroom felt like a haven to me. She always supported my interest in art, so I felt encouraged to strive to produce beyond my very average ability. Though I have only pursued painting and drawing recreationally since high school, Miss Abbott’s influence on my creativity, even if it’s just decorating a room, is still present.
  Cecelia Spann Nichols
 
Remember how Miss Abbott loved Pogo? Why do I remember that?  I don’t know … I just do.  I think we all started reading Pogo and following the stupid, but hilarious, misadventures of Churchy and Owl because of her.
  Shannon Jones
"FOR EXTINCTION MAY I NOMINATE THE LAVATORY DOPE WHO WASHES HIS GRIMY MITTS AND DOESN'T WASH THE SOAP" - Martha Abbott.
The sign Miss Abbott put on the art room wash sink.
 
 
 
 
A Tribute to Miss Abbott
by Don Teeters
 
Martha Abbott, from whom I never took a class (because, alas, I am a hopelessly untalented visual artist), stands out Way Tall.
 
What a wonderful, warm, compassionate, wise, creative, and thoughtful woman she was. I played the piano for rehearsals and performances for I don't remember how many Knightlites productions during my years at Southeast. I remember so vividly the clear picture Miss Abbott had of what she wanted each production to look like (Hal Prince should have an ounce of her enthusiasm and drive!!). And the patience she showed to all of us little no-nothings who thought we knew how the world of theater and life worked, and the skill she employed to convince us that--maybe another way would work better.
 
One time, when a dancer (could it have been Yvonne L'Hommedieu?) was rehearsing, Miss A came up on the stage, stood behind me, and, in the gentlest, most supportive way, began to tap a single finger on my shoulder in time to the music I was playing. All of a sudden (Eureka!!!) I realized that I was being very unstable in my time counting, and Madame Director was showing me in the most subtle, loving way how to correct the problem and give Ms. L'Hommedieu (or whoever it was) the support that she needed.
 
How sweet! Miss Abbott, how many times in the course of my career of conducting concerts on the stages of many different concert halls have I longed for (craved) the reassurance of that steady finger on my back--or, in remembering, have found the stability that has brought a performance to happy conclusion.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I remember:
 
I was grateful to my teachers, Miss Abbott especially, for accepting the task of attempting to polish this pebble with no assurances of what would come of it.  I only have a sense of her acceptance while insisting that I go beyond what I thought I was capable of doing.  Toward that end she gave me responsibilities, and by insisting that I live up to them showed a confidence in me that I didn't have in myself.  I wouldn't have let her down for the world.  I've consciously tried to emulate her in my own relationship with students.
Charles McGehee
During our senior year when Miss Abbott had an extended illness during 1st semester, we had a Mrs. King for a substitute. The whole art class had bobby pins, and each person stuck a straightened bobby pin into a space under the art desk top, and from time to time flipped the bobby pin with his or her finger. This made a "whanging" noise, and Mrs. King could never catch anyone, because the bobby pins were so well hidden. We were sure glad to get Miss A. back, and I'm sure Mrs. King was just as glad to be rid of us!
Lois Garner Hightower
 
Miss Abbott was my favorite teacher and my role model.  She taught it all; manners, appearance, decorum, and oh, yes ART! She taught lessons about life. When I started teaching I just prayed that I could begin to impact my students in similar ways. I did not begin to have the discipline that she had over us. A pin (or rather a paint brush) could drop in her class and be heard.
 
I can remember her standing in front of class showing us what we looked like when we chewed gum. To this day I rarely chew a stick of gum and she is the reason! She was a "lady" in the truest sense of the word and the one teacher that I would go back to visit after graduation. I always wished when I taught that I could be the kind of teacher that she modeled. I hope she knows how much she influenced the adults we became!
Betty Wilson Dod
 
 
 
 
Miss Abbot Was More Than an Art Teacher
by Shannon Jones
 
Martha Abbott was not just my art teacher for five years, she was so much more. What she taught me and gave me over the years I can never repay.  And I am not just talking about the drawing or painting or other visual art techniques.  She ignited the spark of my creative outlook on life.  And every day she fanned that spark with challenges
 
Obviously Miss Abbott was my most influential artistic mentor. But beyond that, she was the one person who during my formative teenage years encouraged me to work hard and constantly strive to develop what she called my "natural abilities" so I might be better at whatever I chose to do with my "talents". She drilled into me the ethic of "work, work, work, practice, practice, practice." She encouraged me to never give up until I had mastered whatever technique I was attempting to learn or problem I was trying to overcome. She was a task master, yes, but a loving, patient one. You cannot imagine the lengths I would go to just to be rewarded by her praise.  She frequently reminded me, when I doubted myself, to trust my creative impulses. She instilled in me a confidence that I didn't have before I met her. I can truly say I gained confidence in myself because she had confidence in me. How could I doubt her judgment?
 
As it turned out I did not become a cartoonist or create a world famous cartoon adventure strip nor follow a career path at all like the one I dreamed about and told Miss Abbott about as a teenager. The path I did stumble into, entirely by accident, was much more exciting, offered much richer creative opportunities, and as it turned out, was many times more satisfying than anything I could have ever imagined. And I was good at it because of the lessons and habits Miss Abbott had drummed into me.
 
I have often wished I could tell that sweet wonderful lady how her wise counsel, endless patience, and unflagging confidence in a young skinny kid nurtured the seeds that would blossom forth and prepare him to meet many future challenges.  Not just those encountered in my career as an exhibit  designer, but in many other aspects of my life.
 
So here is a belated message for you Miss Abbott.  Thank you, my dear. I will always remember you for the rest of my days with great love.
 
 
 
 
 
The Dorian Pledge
 
Said by Dorian Art Club pledges  to obtain members' signatures
 
"Most supreme superior, scintillating surrealist of Southeast, I salute your sagaciousness and sensationally shining skill. I simply shan't be satisfied until on this special sheet and without superfluous sentences, I have secured a single, sensible, small simple sample of your most significant signature."
 Pledge and Shield submitted by Charles McGehee
 
 
 
 
Hey!! Miss A.
by Rockne Krebs - Class of '56
 
"HEY!! MISS A," I used to say.
 
I nominated Miss Abbott for "Whose Who in America" and they decided to include her, but she refused. She did call me and thank me.  That was in the 70's, and was the last time we talked. She was a great lady.
 
I believe that it was our privilege to share a prime moment in time that resulted in a unique educational experience at Southeast High School.  It was an institution in a state of grace. The faculty was for the most part the first generation of teachers who opened a nice new school whose blank walls they transformed into inspired halls. We arrived just in time to catch them on the back side of their prime and benefit from the years of experience invested in a tradition of education.
 
Most, like Martha Abbott, my wonderful art teacher, poured their talent, and energy into creating an educational experience that fostered both the character and talent of her young artists.  Miss Abbott invested the best of herself in Southeast high school.  She felt a proprietary interest in the place that she skillfully conveyed to us with the broad strokes of her water color brush.  She knew what worked. Three of us won art scholarships. 
 
 
 
 
This is how Miss Abbott
signed Charles McGehee's Dorian Pledge Book
 
submitted by Charles McGehee
 
 
 

CLUB ACTIVITIES

   The following are the new Dorian officers:  Shannon Jones, president; Betty Wilson, vice-president; Barb Martin, secretary; Charles McGehee, treasurer; Round Table representatives, Carole Means and Betty Schnick; Carole Means, Tower representative; Richard Tubesing and Darlene Stanley, historians; last but not least Miss Abbott, sergeant-at-arms.

 
 
 
How I Disappointed Miss Abbott
by Shanon Jones
 
Although I can cite many incidents where Miss Abbott influenced me in a creative way, the single memory that stands out in my mind the strongest is the time when I disappointed her.  Even though I had let her down, bless her soul, she managed to turn that situation into a positive growth experience for me.
 
Our senior year I did not return to school after our graduation practice at the Music Hall. Some of my classmates and I went to the movies at a downtown theatre to see "The House of Wax" ─ which was being shown in a new technique called 3D. The next day the “front office” didn’t say anything to us seniors about cutting school.  But Miss Abbot did.
 
She took me aside, in that little materials room of hers, and told me in whispered tones how “disappointed” she was in me. How she "expected better and more honorable behavior" from me. She told me that others looked up to me as a senior and the President of Dorians. She told me she looked up to me as “a young man with great potential." She drove home the point that I must always be mindful of my actions, particularly how I appear in the eyes of others.
 
You have no idea how much her words affected my thinking then and later on in life. When I became a father, her words were directly responsible for my behavior while my boys were growing up. I was a better man then because I was conscious of how I appeared in their eyes.  I was determined to set a good moral example for them as a father and a man.
 
Heaven must be a much more beautiful place because you are there, Miss Abbott, gracing the other angels with your smile and loving spirit.  May God Bless you, as I'm sure he has.
 
 
 
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