I met Mark Greenaway more than 40 years ago when he walked into a class I was teaching as part of the English curriculum at Atascadero High School. It was a class of fewer than 20 students who enrolled in an advanced speech class with one purpose – to produce a 15-minute radio show that was broadcast over KPRL in Paso Robles on Wednesday nights. We did the show for about five years.
I still interact with a number of my former students. I know fellow teacher Donn Clickard would agree with me that it is one of the extra perks of teaching; watching your former students emerge into adulthood, parenthood and community leaders. Other students I still have contact with include Roberta Fonzi, Steve Martin, Tom O’Malley and Sara Johnson (fellow Kiwanians), retired county auditor/controller Gere Sibbach and others.
One year I required each of those radio-class students to produce something on their own using their individual talents and things they learned in the class. One student composed a song, another wrote a short radio drama and Mark did an oil painting that promoted the show – “Sounds of the Hounds” – which pictured a dog holding a microphone in front of our over-sized radio clock we used each week to time our show.
And when my first daughter was born more than 40 years ago, Mark presented her with three small paintings that she still has today.
I am reminded of Mark’s talent every time I look at his paintings hanging on the walls of my home or as I drive by the Faces of Freedom larger-than-life bronze at the military memorial that now anchors a corner of Atascadero Lake Park.
A sign under construction there will bear even more of Mark’s work. As the headline read in the local newspaper, “A work of art will signify another work of art.” That sign will call attention to the memorial that in my opinion is the nicest on the entire Central Coast. I haven’t seen one yet that is more elaborate or meaningful regarding a tribute to those who have died as a result of serving their country.
Mark would disagree with my earlier referral in this column to him as a “community leader.” He prefers to remain in the background as much as possible. He is also involved in a permanent patriotic display being built in front of the Galaxy Theater.
Like the bronze tiger done by Susan Beatie that graces the entrance to the Charles Paddock Zoo, this work will remain for generations to enjoy. This all makes Mark Greenaway a local treasure.
Lon Allan's column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades and his column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 466-8529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.