Elementary School Memories
I went to Jackson Elementary School from kindergarten to grade 6. I walked the half mile or so to school, not along roads so much (I just had to cross one quiet one), but across a field, through a little “forest” (a group of about 15 clustered trees; imagination made it the Black Forest), a line of trees and some neighbors’ backyards.
The school is still there, although it’s been greatly updated, renovated, and whatever else they can do to those tax-eating entities called public schools. Over Christmas break, my mom and family visited the school. Even through the newness, some of the “bones” of the building could be seen, and I could imagine my days there, 35 years ago.
The doors to the cafeteria. Now, in my day, the floor had that beige speckled-look linoleum, and I think the walls were beige-ish, too. Imagine several paintings on the wall, with a western theme – cowboys herding cattle, that type thing, although I also seem to remember some paintings of clowns.
Inside the cafeteria, things look much the same. The tables look similar – do they still pull down out of the wall? That was cool! The stage was the scene of many memories – choir performances (including my sixth grade trio, who sang “Born to be King”) and movies that we would file in to watch on the big screen set up for the projector to show on. Particularly memorable was the “secret” movie all the girls were herded in to watch in fifth grade about “growing up” (is it significant that the boys didn’t have to watch a film on that topic?).
Here’s the serving line. Take away the salad-bar portable thing, and it looks just like it used to. We would take a milk carton and then walk along the window, getting our tray at the end. The smaller window on the far left is where we would turn in our trays to be washed after eating.
The view down a hallway – long, just as I remember, but take away the carpet. No schools were carpeted in the ’70s, were they? Also, those lockers weren’t there. We had a coat closet with hooks inside the classroom.
This is new, but we saw two bunnies in one of the large courtyards formed by classrooms. My mom said they have lived there for years. It was sweet to see them, but I have to say I pitied them, out in the freezing cold, snowy elements.
To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward. ~Margaret Fairless Barber