Mel Birnkrant's
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        How far back should I begin?  This journey, via time machine, has uncovered and rediscovered ancient history!   At the risk of being ridiculous, here I was at sixteen, coming in second in the Detroit Christmas Seal Design Competition.  The design itself was both religious and realistic.
         The following year I entered again.  This time with a more modern abstract version of the same design!  I got rid of the cute little sheep, and hid the fact I couldn’t draw by making the sheepless shepherd more stylized.  To my surprise, I won first prize!  The Christmas seal was really published, and sold to raise funds to fight Tuberculosis.

Articles appeared in all the Detroit papers.  I gathered them together  in an album, along with other high school memories, and there they have remained.  Now 60 years later, I opened the cover once again.  The paper has darkened with age, but thanks to the Magic of Photoshop, they have been made legible again.
Here is the actual first sketch that was the origin of the design.  Yes!  I too am amazed that this fragile fragment has survived.  And below, are some press photos of the event.  They have remained as clear and bright as they were on the day that they were shot.  The first shows my proud parents, looking at me lovingly.  Directly behind me is my beloved mentor and art teacher, James Siddal, and on the right, is Mr. Clark, the Principal of Mumford High.  
The second photo captures the moment the head of the Detroit Tuberculosis Sanatorium handed me the $35. prize.  I vowed that I would save it to pay for my College education. 
And here is a sheet of the actual Christmas seals, framing a black and white photograph of the design that was shot for the newspaper.  

          In that same year, my senior year in high school, The Mumford Art Club produced a puppet show of James Thurber’s charming fairytale, “The Thirteen Clocks.”   Articles appeared in the Detroit papers and were picked up, here and there, all across the country.   Those were innocent days, when such trivialities as these, were considered “newsworthy.”
         Last of all, mostly because it’s the only proof I have in print that I attended the University  of Michigan,  is an article about my childhood bedroom.  I turned one pegboard wall into a makeshift planetarium.  The article doesn’t do it justice.  The photos that follow it convey a more accurate impression of what the wall was really like at night.  The stars and planets were all rendered in the newly invented Day-Glo colors, and came to life, under the invisible rays of mysterious “Ultraviolet Light.”