Monday, September 03, 2012

Facing the Past

A year ago I took a short ride to my former elementary school   We had heard the school was in a state of demolition having finally been abandoned by Fulton County.  After the county stopped using the building as an elementary school and then as a police officer training facility and then as a place to store voting machines...they just packed up and left it....all alone.

The last lesson had been taught, the last kickball kicked and the last lunch tray washed years and years before.

During the summer of 2006 I visited my old elementary school....and she was looking pretty good.   A little tired and worn out, but holding her own.  You can read about my visit back then here and see a few pictures I posted

However, once the building was abandoned....she took a turn for the worse.  It wasn't long before the roaches and the vermin took over...and I don't just mean the kind that crawl on four or more legs. 

Crack addicts, vagrants looking for shelter broke in.....all of the copper pipes were taken as well as fixtures of any value and old glass....doors and transoms....the very tall windows.....the types of things "they don't make like that anymore."

And at some point the community...if it can be called that....began using my school as a dumping ground.  Quite frankly, I can't call my old community a "community" because how can you treat an old building....a school that was so integral to the community for so this?

The playground was no better.

A slow...agonizing death.

You can't even drive up the driveway anymore because of the junk.   The state of the building took my breath away....

It was hard to climb those steps...the same steps I sat on as a child waiting to be sorted out for kickball teams.

.....and of course by climbing those steps I was confronting the past.

We walked the hall...the oak hall that had gleamed because James, our janitor always had the floor buffer out and working away.  

I though about that as we traversed the hallway...a hallway now littered with insulation and torn ceiling tiles...piles of trash....torn up pieces of sheet rock.  At some points along the hallway we were literally tottering on piles of debris and very uncertain as to what was underneath.....even if anything would be underneath to support us.

I walked by doors I had opened and closed as a child...and transoms now broken.

There were huge holes ripped out of the flooring revealing the dark underbelly of my school....a building that had always been safe for me, but now....was quite dangerous as we gingerly walked down the hallway.

We have to face our past sometimes...the good and the bad...just like we have to face an unknown future.  There are holes.   We might get around them....some of them we fall through.....but the holes are inevitable.   Some of us get stuck in the holes....some of us eventually climb out and forge ahead to the next pile of debris or inevitable hole.

For all the joys of life..and are there many.....there will be debris.....there will be holes.

A whirlwind of events swirled around my head as I kept going down the hall.  

Why didn't I notice him more?

Why did he die at such a young age?

Where is she now?

That was so important to me then...when did it change?

This is what is left of my fifth grade classroom...the first year I had a boyfriend....a boyfriend who actually returned my feelings.

The back parking lot where I planted flowers and other plants during my fourth grade would never know that now.

My first grade classroom...the room where I read about Alice and Jerry and their little dog Jip......where I poured over Richard Scarry's Busytown books and had to sit still for math.  


The overgrown where I sat as a child waiting on my mother to pick me up.

As we drove away I whispered goodbye and took one last picture.

 I won't go back.  Ever.  It's too hard to see what my school was allowed to become. 

I'm content with my memories, but I know deep in my heart I'll continue to wrestle with my questions because apparently I've reached that season of life.....

But it is hard facing the past....good and bad.

It always is....

I'm ready for the season to change.

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