My Old School and My Nature

My elementary school has long been torn down and been replaced by a single level ‘efficient’ structure. Above is a photo of it as I remember it. Children’s ‘comings and goings’ were much more relaxed in the 1960s. Locking doors and other security protocols were not even imagined then. What a marvelous time to be a kid!

That three-story building held beautiful 8′ wide hardwood stairways worn with slight ‘dips’ from years of energized foot traffic. Eventually that school became a Middle School (Junior High) and I got to tread those stairways even longer.

The hill that Brayton School sat upon was my small city’s winter sliding spot. Families and kids who weren’t even enrolled there and from all over gathered to slide on that perfect slope with toboggans, jumpers, saucers and sleds, on weekends and evenings throughout our snowy winters. I imagine that area may be forever haunted by the laughter and squeals of carefree happy families.

When I close my eyes, I hear enchanted echoes from our activities inside that sturdy structure. Like being inside an old Cadillac- built to last with sturdy materials and a classical design- there was a rich audio experience that cannot be reproduced in modern schools or cars.

As sentimental as I am about the building, a specific experience also reverberates with me. It was something I did as a Junior High School student.

I’ll explain:
We students moved from classroom to classroom for each subject. A bell rang to end the class giving us about three and a half minutes to find our way to our next classroom before another bell rang. If you didn’t get into the next class by the second bell, you were late and subject to detention unless you had a good excuse.

I don’t, to this day, know why but I made a decision that those three and a half minutes were mine to use as I pleased as long as I wasn’t late to class. On a warm spring day, I challenged myself to run to the trees (in the photo foreground) at the bottom of the hill and back to my second-floor classroom before the second bell. My heart pounded in anticipation and when the first bell rang, I was off! It was exhilarating and ‘dangerous’. My feet had wings!
I got to the door of my class as the second bell rang and as the teacher was beginning to close the door. I slipped through that narrowing opening and made it!

I would do this several more times throughout my studentship there. Never would I be late.

Funny how I never included anyone else in my testing (challenging) of the ‘system’. A few kids caught on, but I never really brought it to anyone’s attention on purpose. The only adult who became aware of my personal ‘Olympics’ was our gym teacher. She held class at the bottom of the hill and when she saw me racing across the field one day, asked me what I was doing. Once onboard with my stunt (Why wouldn’t she be? It was great exercise.), she was a cheerleader who clapped and cheered when she’d see me coming. Of course, she must have told the other teachers. I was probably a teacher’s lounge topic a few times too. No one bothered me about it, though. I wasn’t breaking any written rule. That’s the difference between ‘good teachers’ and ‘tyrant teachers’, by the way.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more appreciative of that childhood ‘game’. It makes me proud. I believe it also explains to me that my independent, non-conformist, nature has always been there. It also suggests that pushing myself to better myself, on my own terms, was another intrinsic character trait.

I woke up this morning needing to document this in my blogging journal. I hope you enjoyed my nostalgic tale.



11 thoughts on “My Old School and My Nature

    1. Not often or planned. But I tend to take the longest route across parking lots and during walks. I guess that might count. 😉
      It just occurred to me that an old obscure movie, starring Peter Strauss, called The Jericho Mile was a big favorite of mine for years! It was an inspiring tale about running and the associated sense of freedom it creates. 🤔

      1. Yes longer routes counts. So does taking the stairs instead of the lift.
        I used to love running but I think that I’ve gotten too old to do that anymore. Cheers

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