Childhood Memories Friday: Shields Junior High School

Shields Junior High School Seymour

Childhood Memories Friday

I was driving out of town on a recent visit to my hometown, when I headed past the location of my junior high school, Shields Junior High School.  The term “middle school” didn’t exist in the ’70s as far as I know.

The building was torn down years ago, which is a shame, because I’d love to walk through it again and experience the emotions that come from revisiting the sites of one’s youth.

But each day, I’d make my way down the big slope to the gym at the bottom of the hill. That huge building still stands. In addition to the gym (well, the “boys’ gym.” The main building housed the “girls’ gym”), the building was home to the choir and band rooms, where I spent time each day.

Shields Junior High School gym Seymour

The building is serving no apparent purpose these days. Delinquents have discovered it, as evidenced by the graffiti throughout. Since it was broad daylight, though, I felt safe enough exploring this place that had played a big role in my life, back in the late 1970s.

Shields Junior High School Seymour

Heading up to the front door. So many lunchtimes, after eating, friends and I would linger on the slope and down this sidewalk. It’s looking pretty rough these days.

Shields Junior High School Seymour

Another memory: just to the left of the front door, the restrooms. Boy, I’d forgotten them, but looking at this again, I so remember standing in here. One specific memory is holding a friend’s scarf while she used the bathroom. As you can tell from the look of things, this wasn’t exactly the Hilton even back in its prime, and there weren’t perks like hooks on the doors. If I recall correctly, you even had to hold the stall door shut to keep it from swinging open.

Shields Junior High School Seymour

So many memories here, in the choir room. Sure, it looks bare now, but right at the spot where someone’s so rudely scrawled profanity, there was a piano. It’s where I first accompanied a choir — “The Water is Wide” runs through my head as I remember. It’s just strange to think that life lessons were learned, memories were created … and now the site of all that is ruined. It seems wrong somehow.

Shields Junior High School Seymour

In this room, I spend many an hour in woodwind band sectionals. I played oboe. Check out the blackboard on the left. No whiteboards in this place!

Shields Junior High School Seymour

And here’s the room where “full band” met. The director used to have tantrums every now and then and walk out. I guess if he saw this room now, he’d leave for sure.

Shields Junior High School Seymour

There are the doors where we’d hurry out of the building from band at the end of the day.

Shields Junior High

James M. Shields — thanks to the wonder of the internet, I see he was the first settler in Seymour, in 1816 — I wonder how he would feel about having this huge edifice put up in his honor (it was built in 1937), and now seeing it in such sad shape? I guess we’ll never know.

sidewalk ends

Thirty-five years ago, this walk led up the rise, where we’d all scurry back to the main school building. For today, though, it’s where the sidewalk ends.

*****

Enjoy more tales about growing up in Seymour — small town Indiana — in the 1970s in my book, I Love to Tell the Story: Growing Up Blessed and Baptist in Small Town Indiana (affiliate link).

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9 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Shields Junior High School

  1. Very interesting story Susan. Many great memories left in that building even when not a Jackson County native.

  2. Interesting but sad. I am sorry you did not include a photo of the apple box that was made from wood when the old Junior High was torn down. I also hoped to see the ink sketch of the school.

  3. So many local schools in Huntington County have bit the dust in the past several years. Mine is still standing and in fairly good shape considering its age! My father who would now be 100 years old attended Roanoke School, yes the same one that I graduated from, believe it or not. We had the very same 1st grade teacher even. Her name was Miss Kemp. About the only difference in the school is that a new section was added on in 1958, the year after I graduated, and it now has air conditioning.
    No such thing when I attended school there and even taught 6th grade there myself as a teacher during the 1990s. Roanoke is the only original school remaining in Huntington County, and we are still very proud of it. I think that many schools are destroyed today long before they need to be or should be.

  4. I understand your feeling of sadness as you toured this building. What pleasure do individuals get in destroying a building? I don’t understand it.

  5. Yes I miss that grand building were when ever time I see it in sad sorry shape it make me cry we needs to be restored an used an appreciated for grand old girl she is

  6. Nice article Susan, I drive by it often, and it’s such a shame to see it just sit and fall apart. A lot of memories in that building from my formative years. Great read, nice job.

  7. As I read this, I was thinking “I could have written this.” I attended Shield Junior High for the 7th Grade and the first half of the 8th Grade (Sept. 1967 to Feb. 1969) until my family moved to Texas. Just after we returned from Christmas Break in Jan. 1969, I was heading down the slope from the north doors of the school to the Band Room in the gym (I played the tenor saxophone). I slipped on the icy sidewalk and smacked my right elbow on the concrete. My humerus snapped cleanly into two equal parts. I was still wearing the heavy plaster cast on the plane ride to Dallas on the day after Valentine’s Day. Despite that incident, I have very fond memories of that school and the gym. Both of my parents graduated from there in the early 1950’s when it was Shields High School. Nice article. Thank you.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing your thoughts.