My head continually sags lower as I take my last walk around, Mr. Teacher Schoolhouse, it only seems fitting to think of this building as a Teacher. I found my steps becoming heavier for some unexplainable reason, I could not yet part. I sit down on a concrete bench that is on the main pathway leading to the main entrance, many benches line this area under old shade trees, a popular gathering place for students and I as a former student wish to gather alone here in my thoughts one last time. I look and marvel at the character of this old structure of a hundred years before. Beautiful, magnificent, is the only words that enter my mind. The sun just sit behind the old gymnasium, so if I was going to take one last stroll around this city block of learning, I best be moving. I walk to the east side and decide to go up the side between the main building and its sister building, just as I had done hundreds of times, what now seems eons ago. I would park my bicycle in the old bike rack every morning and take the back entrance. Suddenly I have the uncontrollable desire to touch the same door I used every morning. I attempt to shake the feeling off; however it proves too much. I think to myself "open says me" something I might of said as a child and gosh darn it as I pushed down on that old type, across the whole door handle it opened!!! Gee whiz! The Twilight Zone theme rushes through my mind!
"Come in I recognize you my friend" it seems Mr. Schoolhouse is saying to me. Do I dare! Yes I do! I rather nonchalantly walk right in, like greeting an old friend. The smell of the building flashes me back to an eighth grader. I hear the bell that sounds to signal end of class, hurry to your next class girls and boys we must give you a full day of learning. I take a few steps up the stairwell and see the first floor, wow just as I remember it, creepy crawly shivers go up my back. I walk the length of the only floor with an unobstructed view. It seems the same size. I expected it to be smaller. It has been my experience when growing older, our childhood years always made things appear larger than they really were. I have regressed back to my student years here, fascinating. I take the center stairs to the second floor. Outside lights is giving me a good viewing, as the old school lies in wake of death. Old Mr. Schoolhouse is saying "my lid is not yet closed, look all you want". I do not feel the pain of a funeral, I feel pride and warmth and better off to of walked these hallways, privileged to have done so. I walk up to the third floor and past the old Projector room and smile because I was once a Projectionist.
It seems the old schoolhouse was in charge of me and knows where I always felt the most comfortable, the Auditorium on the very top of the building. It reminds me of the Movie Houses of bygone days, of course much simpler but had that feel, that coziness and I loved those old black and white films. The Classics they were called and I loved them all. I never got tired of showing them as a Projectionist.
I take a seat at the rear of the Auditorium just as the full moon was setting its sights on the 4 massive original windows. The dim light of evening shadows was becoming a heavens glow. An overwhelming feeling of love, happiness, contentment as well as understanding permeates the very depth of my body as if a timeless wind was blowing through the heart of the old building into me. I had become one with the old schoolhouse instead of pain I felt satisfaction of a job well done. Proud to of served admirably for a century. After all nothing is forever, is it! Time stood still at that moment and I fell asleep in the back of my old school. I relived 3 years of aches and pains of the time spent here and my learning went beyond reading, writing and arithmetic. I had learned about life and leaving the child of grade school and graduated the next step in the school of life.
I woke up with peace in my heart. It was after midnight as I walk down the steps, I was at peace. I never drove by the schoolhouse for years after it was demolished. It made front page headlines at its destruction, hundreds of former students view it as the wrecking ball tore down a piece of local history. I never understood the need to view something as it is being destroyed. Whether it be an old building as the wrecking ball whacks it beyond recognition or shooting an animal. I do not understand viewinga friend or loved one as they lay dead. I WISH TO REMEMBER THEM THE WAY THEY LIVED THEIR LIFE, SO FULL OF THEMSELVES, SMILING, LAUGHING. I WISH TO REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES OF AN OLD FRIEND, NOT AS THE WRECKING BALL DESTROYS WHAT THEY ONCE WAS. THANK YOU.