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Friday, August 14, 2015

Big

When I changed my bicycle route last month, I started pedaling past the school where I attended kindergarten.  It's apartments now.

I remember being overwhelmed by the enormity of the building-- so many doors, windows, room, steps, people...  Now, it just looks old, small, and dumpy.

I can still see myself going in those front doors.  My kindergarten class was off to the right, back corner, first floor.  I don't remember loving it.  I don't remember hating it, either.  There were some things I was good at.  The teacher was big on having us regularly recite our addresses and telephone numbers, in case we ever got into trouble somewhere and needed help.  I was good at that.  Coloring-- not so much.  I was merely adequate at tying laces on a big practice shoe.  We were on half day sessions, and I remember we rotated-- morning to afternoon.  I don't remember how frequently.

I spent only one year in that building.  First and second grade were spent in an elementary school a little closer to home.

As I was pedaling on my circuit, I mentally counted the buildings where I attended class, K through 12.  Eight.  Six have been torn down.  I shed no tears over that.  With the exception of one, they were simply awful buildings, unfit for student habitation.  In addition to the kindergarten building, one other school of mine still stands.  It too is apartments.

I will admit that those old buildings had character, even if they were fire traps.  It seems today's schools are nothing but generic cement block rectangles.  But, a school is not just a building.  It's people.  I wonder if kindergarteners still walk through the front doors, intimidated by it all.