Three days ago, I saw something that nobody should ever have to see. I, with my own eyes, witnessed an atrocity, a travesty, a horror. It was a crime against art and against history – and an unspeakable outrage to the students of Bethel High School.
Baby Jumbo, the giant canvas-mache elephant that the National Art Honor Society spent two weeks working on, has been deflated, defeated, and waterlogged. Left in the rain after the PT Barnum Parade this past Sunday, Jumbo now sits outside of the First Congregational Church of Bethel, a mere husk of his former self. Crumpled down to half of the size he originally was, Jumbo is now a piteous mass of chicken wire, canvas, muslin and grey paint.
My comrades in NAHS and I, were all extremely upset to discover that Jumbo has been cast aside like nothing more than trash. Featured prominently in the Parade, our work of art should not have been so easily forgotten. If there was no sheltered place for Jumbo in the Municipal Center, or in the Offices of the Bethel Historical Society, the BHS Art Department would happily have taken him back and found a suitable home for him. Instead, our beloved Baby Jumbo was drowned.
Our community has treated Baby Jumbo worse than PT Barnum probably treated his live circus elephants in the late 1800’s. Jumbo has met with an abominable fate, and it is an iniquity that will not be soon forgotten.