That, my fellow wanderers, is a picture of Hughes Elementary school that I took summer of 2009. On the outside it has not changed much since I attended school there way back in the fashion challenged seventies. I have not been inside the building since I was in high school when we visited our wrestling coach, who taught there. That must have been about 27 years ago or so.
I wonder if it still smells the same? I dont mean that in a bad way either. The school was built before the war(World War II that is) and had a distinct smell to it. The library has a smell I will never forget. It might be a mixture of old building, old books, paste and crayons. Maybe it is just nostalgia, but I loved that school and loved being a kid.
Form this picture, if you walk five blocks from the upper left corner, you would arrive at my house. Right next to school on the upper right corner was where my friend Tom lived. Behind me, as I was taking the picture, was where my friend Dave lived. Amazing what the mind remembers after all these years, from that school I think I could take you to all my old friend's houses.
Those walkways on the front were great in the winter. They would be a bit icy and we would race our lunch boxes down the ice. I had a James Bond lunchbox that got pretty crumpled and the next year I got a Snoopy lunchbox, it was pretty cool, but soon battered as well. That was so much fun.
Behind the school they used to pile up the snow pretty high and we would play 'king of the hill' A few kids got crumpled falling down the snow bank. The playground was asphalt with steel monkey bars and firemen poles to slide down. A good old fashioned playground that when you played on it, you had to be careful. A few skin knees, broken wrists and the like never slowed us down, not one bit. Not even the poor kid who stuck his tongue on the iron bar and got it stuck(just like in A Christmas Story) phased us. We were kids and had fun, scrapes were a small price to pay.
And from the department of because I like to illustrate how much things have changed since I was a wee lad...
The basement had a fallout shelter, complete with the atomic logo sign and all that jazz. We even were instructed what to do in case of atomic attack and how to get down to the shelter. Even in the 70's, we got to watch the Duck & Cover movie and learn what to do in case we saw the flash of light.
My kids had security in their school. We had the playground attendant that even the worse behaved kid never, ever dared to cross. She was kind and very good with us kids, but you never, ever messed with her, you respected her.
My kids had 'safe' playground equipment. We had concrete, asphalt and steel, and the common sense to be safe because we knew what happened if we were not. I think it was worth a few skinned shins, at least for me it was.
It is comforting to know that the old school still stands, the kids still race down the hallways and cant wait for summer. Things change, and yet, still remain the same in a lot of ways. The old school is still there and it is a nice reminder of simpler times. Hopefully, someday, today's kids will feel the same.