Many people were hit hard by the news. A "save the school" campaign was begun. A Facebook page was created. Final tours were provided. And then the destruction began, and I thought it was unfortunate, but necessary. Then, this afternoon when I went to the nearby grocery store, I had a view of what's happening. And I felt sad. A rush of memories flooded my mind and the sad feeling was almost a fear that destroying the building would destroy the memories. Irrational, but that's what it felt like.
See where the classroom on the right on the first floor was? That's where I attended Kindergarten. My teacher was Miss Fairlamb -- did you ever hear a better name for a Kindergarten teacher? After being promoted, I didn't set foot in that classroom again for thirty years -- the day I took my oldest child to attend Kindergarten. In the same school. In the same classroom. Miss Fairlamb, obviously, was long gone.
I can remember all of my teachers from elementary school -- Miss Eisenberg, Miss Hartzell, Mrs. Murphy, Mrs. Marte (a mean, mean lady who stuck her thumb in our collarbones if we misbehaved), Miss Koons (who labeled me a gifted speller), and Mr. White. The school was very, very big -- after the K+6 grades of elementary school, students crossed over to the junior high where we spent another three years with the likes of the dreaded Charity Jane Godfrey (7th and 8th grade math, stern beyond belief and a stranger to underarm deodorant), Dr. "Nose" Uhler (8th grade history and something else), Miss "Froggy" Green (the flakiest art teacher imaginable with red hair and eyes that bulged due to a thyroid disorder), Miss Twining (the home economics teacher who told me I would never be any good at either sewing or cooking -- boy, would I like to get my hands on her now!), Mr. Shorb, Mr. Check, Mrs. Koch, Miss Derstine, Miss Dubson, Mr. Broadhag, Miss Bateman (who broke her glasses the same weekend she became engaged), Mrs. Lamont (a close friend had a serious crush on her), and others.
The school colors were blue and gold, the mascot was a tiger, and I can know all the words to the "fight" song, but I won't bore you with those (and you know how well I can carry a tune). I was in the band, and was so proud to wear my blue and gold uniform in the Memorial Day parade. I hated gym class with a passion and had a minor crush on Mrs. Capaldi, the woman who had a one-year appointment as librarian. I can still picture Mrs. DeWalt and Mrs. Hawse in the cafeteria and have fond memories of the meals they prepared; eight ounces of milk for a nickel, by the way. I remember a lot of my classmates and who some of the couples were. I can still picture the huge paintings of people in international dress on the sides of the auditorium and could easily identify the smell of the locker room blindfolded.
I'm still in slight contact with a small handful of the classmates; today I'm thinking of some of the others and wondering what ever became of Carol Triebel and Lynn Shadle and Bobby Gouak and Woody Strawbridge. Did Bonnie Maniaci grow up to be a veterinarian as predicted? Are Thea and Regina, inseparable for years, still best friends? Is Bill Fegley still incredibly handsome and what about Diane Simmons?
So, "they" are tearing down the buildings, but the memories remain intact. Many of them are fuzzy; others are crystal clear. I needn't have worried.