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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tales From The Classroom

("Tales from the Classroom" is a feature posted occasionally here at this blog.  All tales are true and present matters about which I have personal knowledge.  Note: for politics, please scroll down to other posts)

From fifth through ninth grades, I attended classes in the building pictured below the fold.

No wonder that I grew up loving history!  I attended school in a house filled with history.  Too bad that the walls couldn't talk to tell us what they had witnessed!

Sadly the building was torn down to make way for ugly modern buildings.


The owner of the school lived upstairs. The first floor of the building had high ceilings, a fireplace in every room, a narrow and winding slave staircase, a wide main staircase very similar to the one in the film Gone with the Wind, at least four porches, and a brick walkway lined by a tall boxwood hedge.

To this day, when I smell the aroma of boxwoods, I think of school and enjoy happy memories of the years during which that building was such an important part of my life.


  1. We Can Never Go Back to Manderley Now

    Should I care if I get cancer
    In this wretched, troubled, world
    Where all seems swiftly headed towards the rocks?

    Since we live with devolution,
    Marred and poisoned with pollution
    Cancer gives us absolution,
    Since our kids don’t care enough to wear their socks.
    As towards The End we're whirling
    With flaming batons twirling,
    And last night's dinner hurling towards the rug

    And no one seems to notice
    As they take positions lotus
    To escape the awful bother,
    Despite demur from failing father,
    To remove the dreadful stench, at which they shrug

    And each, emaciated limb
    Grayish, pale, translucent, slim
    Flailing in St. Vitus' Dance
    Keeps death watchers in a trance
    As with dead, unseeing eyes they watch and long
    With fading final song for their ultimate demise
    I’d be grateful to have cancer
    It has given me an Answer
    In this wretched, troubled, world
    Where my life now lies unfurled
    Wherever I have travelled
    All behind me lies unravelled,
    And backward glances give me naught but shocks.
    As I see we’ve always headed towards the rocks.

    ~ FreeThinke (1/19/14)

    1. Not particularly, but your post, which centers in the destruction of a truly beautiful old building with historic significance -- an idyllic setting for the education of any child -- certainly brought my poem of 1/19/15 to mind.

      We have moved so far beyond the best aspects of our past -- to the point of wantonly DESTROYING the very SETTINGS in which they took place -- we can never go back to reclaim what once was ours to savor and benefit from again. Of course I find that sad.

      This is why I have a passion for collecting antiques and surrounding myself with tangible reminders of the people I loved, where I came from, who I was, and how all that helped me to become the person I am today.

      I may carry it a bit far, but I am proud to own the handmade wooden salad bowl given to my parents as a wedding present in 1933. I rub it with a clove of fresh garlic, and keep it oiled and wiped clean with a paper towel after every use. As far as I know, i has never been touched by water.

      Also, I still use some of the pots and mixing bowls my mother cooked with when I was little.

      One of my fondest possessions is a handmade tea cozy my great Aunt Etta made from material she'd used to recover the bamboo furniture in her sunroom –– seventy years ago. She gave it to my mother when I was four. We've kept it all these years, and I still use it to this day whenever I make a pot of tea. She must have used wonderful material, because it has stood up beautifully all these years.

      The period furniture I have not only has timeless beauty, it also gives me courage. I don't see how anyone could be in the same room with a handmade c. 1760 chest of drawers that survived, Indian attacks, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War One, the Great Depression, World War Two and the SICK-sties, and not feel reassured.

      I often look at my old stuff, and think, "By God, if YOU can survive all THAT and still look so beautiful, what in Heaven's name have I got to worry about? ;-)

  2. The "owner" of the school?
    How sad such a classic biilding wasn't saved.

    1. Ed,
      The building was a rental to the school. Therefore, the owner of the school could not save the building. Whoever owned the building sold the property when that area was zoned commercial.

    2. Also, the road was widened. The widening would not have required the building to be demolished, but demolition is what happened.

  3. I'm with all of you....it's so sad to hear this lovely building is gone. It's metaphorical, isn't it. So much is torn down now; so much that we cherished.
    FT...I have bowls and other kitchen implements from my grandmother I treasure....it is a good feeling of the better days when I use her things.
    Always.....I know you live in an area with much more history than Los Angeles has and I envy you that.

    1. I find it comforting and reassuring, Z, to use and enjoy things my family had long beforeI was born. Knowing my mother and father -- and others -- handled those things and cared for them when we were all young together helps keep them alive in my present existence. I don't know how else to explain it. I think we share that same feeling.

    2. FT,
      I feel the same way. Our house here is filled with things that have been in my family since the 1860's and later, too, of course. And all functional things, too.

    3. Z,
      The rich history of Virginia is wonderful! I don't know how any self-respecting native Virginian couldn't love history!

    4. FT, I once wrote a piece on moving Grandmother's things out of her home after she'd died....One bag for the Goodwill, one for the trash, and one for things to be kept. It was me, my mother and my aunt ....needless to say, I was going through the other bags and putting them INTO the KEEP bag! I was no help to them at all. And I didn't care!!
      I love to see very old photographs, too....like the formal wedding shots they used to take....some have no names, or names I didn't know, and dates, and I look into those young faces and wonder what happened in their lives ahead....it's haunting. I hated throwing those away, but we didn't know even who they were... we threw them away.

      And yes, I LOVE using Grandmother's things...it's a palpable feeling sometimes, holding them in my hands like she'd held them.

      AOW....I can only imagine how rich that history is....something you (and all of us) should be so proud of.

  4. Enjoy your memories. At least that couldnt be torn down!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. FN,
      I wish that I had more photos from those days. I didn't take many pictures back then.

      The photo in this blog post is the only on-the-web photo of the house.

    2. I love the composition of the photo with the bushes and tree branches framing the school. Good one!!!!!!

    3. Obama will find a way to TAX them :-)

    4. FN,
      The setting of the school while classes were held in this building we downright picturesque all year round.

      If I recall correct, the building rented for $100/month (approximately 1962-1967).

  5. What a beautiful setting for building strong minds. No wonder you turned out so well.

    Not many historical buildings here in Florida, but in NYC I attended a Catholic school for 6th grade and, during my time there, the school celebrated it's 100th anniversary. Other than the wonderful architecture, you wouldn't know it was such an old building because the nuns were meticulous in its upkeep.

    1. Cube,
      The modified one-room-schoolhouse principle also helped to promote learning (and not only mine). Once above 3rd grade, students were in four-grade groupings up through high school.

      As a teacher of classes of homeschool students, I find multi-age groupings extremely valuable for the promotion of learning and the love of learning. Yes, it takes a teacher experienced in diagnostic-and-prescriptive teaching, but the good results are astounding.


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