It was another chilly morning, with the digital thermostat registering a mere 70 degrees in the house when I suited up to leave on my walk. Outside it was 52 degrees. I really wasn’t sure what to wear. Mother Nature has the weather in a constant state of flux and I have vowed not to switch on the furnace, nor to return to a heavy coat again until Fall. It is just not right for the first week of June, although I hear we are getting a big warm-up this weekend.
But, I kind of like when it is cool and breezy, like today, over hot and sticky. This morning the sun WAS out and that was good, but it was not warming me up much.
I am still forced to take the big detour around Pagel Avenue, until the construction work is finished at the end of June. Alas, my quickest route to the Park as I go to and fro, has me passing my former elementary school twice a day.
I only attended Frank G. Mixter Elementary School for one school year, before making the big leap to junior high, which is termed “middle school” now.
It was not a year of fun, as I’ve mentioned in prior blogposts. Instead, that 1966-67 school year was filled with classmates poking fun at me, this little Canadian girl, who pronounced words differently, and, even Mr. Schreiber, our sixth grade teacher, mocked my accent and pronunciation of words, and always ridiculed me before my peers. I will never forgive him since he made me read aloud to the class, who snickered at my recitation of whatever text I was forced to repeat.
I won’t dwell on those unhappy days for this post, but, instead will tell you that it was with much glee that I skipped out of those double doors in June 1967, once school was done for the Summer. I was only too happy to move on.
But today, as I passed Mixter Elementary School, those memories came flooding back, and, the recognition that it was still another one of those monumental anniversaries – I cannot believe that I am marking fifty years since I left the stomping grounds of that old school.
My former elementary school, once a source of childhood angst, closed permanently in 2009, then reopened as a school for special needs students, ages 18-26. The students attend a day program which is geared to help them learn independent living skills, and, even more importantly, eventual employability. At the Mixter Institute for Transition, there is even a thrift store which is operated by the students, with proceeds going toward field trips or other enrichment experiences for the program attendees.
I think the students were going on a trip as there were adults accompanying the group, and, I watched them file, one by one, out of the front of the school and queue up for the bus. The bus driver waited patiently, as the contingent of students and other attendees, approached the bus. Meanwhile, her vehicle was emitting diesel-fuel-ridden puffs of smoke, which noxious smell filled my nostrils in the brisk morning air. Occasionally, she jumped up to help shepherd a student to his or her seat.
I rounded the corner and left the bus and its driver, the passel of passengers and all those memories from five decades ago behind.
I then concentrated on getting to Council Point Park, where I hustled along the trail to keep warm and get as many steps in as possible before heading home … and, oh yes … along the way, I tendered peanuts to the squirrels and positioned two more painted rocks so they were visible along the perimeter path.
Life is sweet and simple sometimes, even simpler than back at the old school.