Memories of school days don't just fade away
By Michael O'Hare
Published: Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
Believe it or not – and speaking with at least some qualified perspective – no matter how old you get, the memories from your school days don't go away.
They may not be as ”detailed” as one might like, nor are they necessarily factual in the strictest sense. Yet they are impressions – the poetry of your life – and they are more meaningful than statistics.
Permit me to try to explain.
As children and even into our teen years, we are open to what we see and hear and smell in ways that seem to diminish (unless we cultivate awareness) as we get older.
So the value of school and all that goes with it is not just the numbers, the words, the science and the history we learn, but also the simple training in how to live, to appreciate our lives.
— My elementary school was a dark building with dark red brick, dark interior woodwork , high ceilings and a grand staircase to the second floor. It had a huge room on the third floor with a stage and which could be used for gym classes; yet most of us went through five years of classes there without ever going up.
The building was Mom's high school and I think she graduated in that big room. The school was mine, so to speak, from kindergarten in the basement to fifth grade and now it is gone, a playground on the lot and the high school next door is an elementary school.
I remember that omnipresent smell of chalk, squeaky floorboards and snow flying past the huge windows of wavy glass. And also, learning to play the recorder and still not knowing why.
— In golden letters above the high school stage was this slogan: “Enter to learn, go forth to serve.” How many of us did both?
— Why was the gym ceiling so high (when climbing a rope to touch the beam) and yet the back wall so close to the hoop when running for a lay up shot? Why could the shop teacher be so cantankerous (like Bill Cosby's teacher)? Why did we wear metal cleats on our heels when they were so slippery on hall floors (or announced to the kids in every class that we were heading to the library during study hall)?
— I recall snow plowed high at curbside and how kids created a path atop the piles and walked to and from school on them. And the guy with the oil-burning behemoth of a car that “crop-dusted” us as we walked along the main avenue.
None of these ramblings are important to you because you have your own such memories. Maybe they are school dances, special athletic competitions, walking home or riding the bus, special friends or school bullies, first dates, going steady, graduation.
We dismiss these things, keep them to ourselves, yet ironically they are the fabric with which we crated our everyday lives and which still warm us today.
So share them — if you can get anybody to listen.
Meandering appears Fridays. To share your thoughts on this column (or on most anything) with News Editor Mike O'Hare, write to the Leader Times, P.O. Box 978, Kittanning, PA 16201 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Garden Q&A: Firecracker vine OK for trellis?
- Meat prices drain barbecue budgets
- Starkey: Penguins’ arrogance astounding
- Matt Calvert’s goal in double OT evens series for Blue Jackets
- NFL notebook: Pryor will be cut if he’s not traded
- Penguins’ Gibbons scores twice but leaves with apparent injury
- Pair of Braun homers spells defeat for Pirates
- One dead, one wounded in shooting at Chartiers party
- North Versailles, Murrysville families still waiting for report on 2011 chopper crash that killed couple
- Draftees’ longevity key for NFL success
- State police: People injured in Parkway crash resulting from police chase