When I first started teaching, way back in 1974, I taught at one of the two junior high schools in the district. There was a long stretch of white wall along one side of my classroom, and a few years into my teaching career I began painting murals on that wall. (I didn't ask the principal for permission, but fortunately I didn't get in trouble. When the principal saw what I was doing he liked the idea.) In the morning before classes and in the afternoon after school, I would spend some time painting. The murals depicted the history of Mexico.
The paintings were never finished. In 1983, due to declining enrollment, the school was closed. I moved on to the other junior high and eventually to the high school. The school district foolishly did not maintain the building. Water pipes burst during the winter, and the interior of the former school was a shambles. Finally, twenty six years later, the building was demolished. Remarkably, someone on the crew took a photographic record of each room in the school prior to the demolition. The photographer took numerous pictures of my paintings. All of the photos were posted on an alumni website.
I assumed that, after all those years of neglect, my murals were peeling and covered with mold. Imagine my astonishment when I saw that they were still intact and that the colors were just as vivid as ever. I think that my artwork has matured since those days, and to my eyes those paintings now look dreadfully amateurish. Still, I'm a bit sad when I think that they are gone forever.