And the Walls Come Tumbling Down

They’re tearing down my old high school next week. Today, there is an auction, where “everything must go!” and they’ll gut the building to the bare walls. When they get to Mrs. Alexander’s classroom, I hope they don’t find Rick Landy’s squirt gun behind the heater. High school teachers have super powers to infinity and he could still get detention. (It may have his name on it. His mom was pretty thorough.)

Hubbard has three schools and they’re all being torn down this year and a brand new montage of buildings is being built on a new campus. I lived my whole life in Hubbard and went to all three of those school buildings. There is hardly a nook or a cranny in all of those schools that I haven’t been in, even in the old Roosevelt Elementary, which was a lot like Hogwarts with all of its secret passageways and underground lairs.

I lived next door to Roosevelt, in the big white house on Stewart Avenue, from birth to eighth grade.  In the summers especially, my friends and I hung out at the school from sun-up until the 9 o’clock whistle blew. This was in the early 1960s before the invention of organized sports and day camps. When we got bored, we would try to open the doors to the gym, but they were chained on the inside. Once we got extremely bored and discovered we were skinny enough to fit through the narrow opening. Some of us slipped in the door and walked around the school in the summer, which was a thrill in and of itself. I’m not mentioning any names, because of the possible detention.

One summer, my sister Kathy had a job in the school library and she took me along to help set up the library for the year. I’m sure I was no help at all, but I spent a lot of time wandering around the school pretending like I lived in a school.

Also I was a major brown-nose, so as a student there, I was sent into the deep crevices of the building with notes for other teachers or to use the electric eraser-emptier-outer (which was like a giant vibrator for erasers) in the basement. The Roosevelt School basement is a lot like I imagine the Vatican catacombs to be. It was made out of giant slabs of rock and everything was always wet.

The middle school and high school were modern marvels in comparison. I have some strong memories of both of those schools, too. How can I not? School was where everything happened back then: Love, hate, friendship, inspiration, work, play, happiness, sorrow. We were raised in those buildings. If I made a list of every memory I have, about 90 percent of them take place in one of those schools.

At today’s auction, I hope some of my friends are able to get some cool stuff. If you find the squirt gun, I’ll give you $5 for it.

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