Old School Memories - Sweet Memories of Yesteryear

by Michael Boyter
(Wasilla, Alaska)

I have great memories of attending Dillard Elementary, near Winston Oregon. I started first grade there in the early 1970s. They eventually stopped using the old school because the structure just didn't meet the standard any more.

The plan was to tear it down, but it still stands there empty to this day. I no longer live in that area, but when I've return home to visit family, I've often driven by it.

Sweet memories always rush back as I look on the long breezeways (all the classrooms had doors to the outside...no inside hallways) and the large playgrounds. There I recall all the fun that was had and all the life lessons learned. The teachers that I had, in my biased opinion, where simply the best. They set the standard by which I have always "judged" the teachers that my kids have had.

I'd love to be able to walk in the door of those six classrooms, that I spent so many mornings and afternoons in. But I doubt that would be possible.

All these memories came back to me as I read an article this morning in the Baltimore Sun written by Jacques Kelly. His K-8 Catholic school was recently tore down to make room for a new subdivision. Here is an excerpt and a link to the article.

"During the graduation breakfast.....I figured no
one would miss me for 10 minutes while I walked through every memory-filled classroom. So I slipped away from the school breakfast and tearfully wandered the halls for a personal recess from reality.

This was an era when the classrooms, ever redolent of chalk, floor wax and mimeograph machine fluid, didn't change much. They looked the same in 1964 as they had when I arrived in 1955.

Along the way, I paused at important places - the top of the staircase where I'd heard the news that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated, the fine Victorian desk where I learned reading and arithmetic.

When I got to the last room, I turned, walked down the back steps and rejoined the graduation breakfast.

.... Even as a 14-year-old, I had a sense that things would never be the way they were in that Baltimore spring of so many years ago.

....Years later, I heard from some of my old friends who had returned to the school's darkened halls days before the developer was about to smash up the old place and dig the foundations for the townhouses.

Before the bulldozers arrived, they left with souvenirs: the roll-up map of the world left behind in an abandoned classroom and a section of slate blackboard. Later, I arranged to buy the wooden cabinet where our school textbooks were stored."


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