Downhome Magazine

A Seaman's Chest

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I was born in Petty Harbour and lived most of my life in Forest Pond, Goulds.
School was challenging, especially the high school examinations administered by the Department of Education. The week of exams was an anxiety-driven process for me. I knew the work well enough - at least I thought so.
After the exam for Art, we were required to do a number of exercises. I was excited and anxious because one of the tasks was "draw a seaman's chest." I could handle that! I drew a heavyset man's chest, modeled after my father and brothers I suppose, and then I drew a nice large tattoo of two flags cris-crossed over a sailboat. I was pretty pleased with the final result. That is until class was finished and we all ran out of the building. My friends were asking "what did you draw?", "was it in perspective?", "was it wooden or metal?". It was then I realized what I had drawn. They wanted a box! That exam netted me a 51% pass mark.
- Gwen Williams
Over the years I've wondered what the market thought of my effort. My mom and dad quietly said it was ok and likely open to interpretation. I think they laughed - like I do now when I tell this story!

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