Scandals, legends, gossip, myths; all of these describe the stories told by 25-year veteran teacher Mr. Canfield. Throughout his time at Pace, Mr. Canfield has witnessed remarkable events and remembers each of them with perfect clarity. The following story is one of hundreds locked away in the mind of English teacher Mr. Canfield and is told in his words…
About 19 years ago , the art department at Pace paid five thousand dollars for this lady to come in, and for one week, every art class wrapped twigs. They told her she could get her twigs from the Pace mountain because they were going to build a tennis court, and the woman said, “That is despicable. Pace is ruining the environment.” But, she came anyway.
For a week they wrapped twigs: twigs 20 feet tall, twigs 10 feet tall, and twigs three inches tall, and they were supposed to place them in the foyer of the Fine Arts Center in the shape of a circle. When you walked into the middle of the circle you were supposed to feel the force of nature. But the thing kept falling down and almost blinded a third grader, so they stuck it all over the outside of the Fine Arts Center. All of these twigs up there looked like an Indian village.
Then they had five former secretaries of defense for that southern history thing down the road and they used our auditorium. On national TV they zoomed in on the Fine Arts Center and on all of these awful looking twigs. The lady then came to an assembly and said, “I can’t wait until I come back five years from now and see how all of these twigs are doing.” Everybody goes: “Are you kidding me? Lady, that is awful looking stuff.”
So, one morning I came in, it was a Monday morning, and I couldn’t get into my parking spot because all this dust was there. Apparently, someone had come in Sunday night, taken all of the twigs down, and set them on fire. And this was before the cameras in the parking lot, so they had no idea who did it. But anyway, Mrs. Hand, who was the principal at the time, and this art teacher got up in assembly and said we are gonna find out who did this because you are neo-Nazis and this is a felony. So they all clammed up. Nobody would say a thing. Normally, I could find out what was going on, but no one would say anything.
So for two months, no one knew who burned the twig art. Finally, as I was leaving Peachtree Presbyterian Church following the class after graduation, two boys came up to me and said, “We did it.” I said, “You did what?” They responded with, “We did the twig art!” Apparently, they got drunk. Then they brought lawn chairs, hot dogs, and marshmallows to the Pace parking lot. They sat there, burned all of the twigs, roasted marshmallows, and had a great time. They said they were afraid that the neighbors were gonna call the police because the flames shot 30 feet in the air. No one ever found out they did it.”
If you need any verification for this story, go see the only remaining piece of twig art in Mr. Canfield’s room.
By Andrew Harton, Staff Writer ’12
Photo: Andrew Harton