kim faires photography + stuff

Elementary Musings.

This sign is at LEAST 35 years old ....

They have closed down my old elementary school.

I went by there yesterday to take a few photos, and I have to say: I simply was not prepared for the onslaught of emotion that overtook me.

The sight of the place triggered a cascade of memories that took me completely by surprise.

And as I was wandering around I caught sight of this old sign–bent, rusty, and leaning wildly to one side–and I immediately thought, “No way.”

I remembered that sign being there … and I remembered that there was something about it that made it a significant feature of my childhood, but I couldn’t remember exactly what was written on it.

So I walked over to it, and it all came back. The painted words have almost completely peeled off now, but it reads:

Please Do Not Play in this Ornamental Area.

But that’s not the best part: the kids have scratched out the first four letters of Ornamental so that it reads:

Please Do Not Play in this Mental Area.

And I laughed. Incredulous. I remember that sign, and how funny we all thought it was with the “orna” scratched out.

(Never mind how strange that wording seems today: the “Ornamental Area”, in this case, consists of a swath of lawn with two trees in it surrounded by a hedge. Oo-ah.)

And now I look at that sign and I think, “How apt.” Because being there again, in that place, stirred up so much within me that it felt just like I was playing in a mental area.

And, it triggered the muse.

I have to go back there.

I couldn’t get into the school because it’s been closed and locked. The best I could do was peer through the windows, but I want to–nay, need to–go back there. I want to find a way to get inside–and I suppose I mean that in both a physical and a psychological sense–because I want to know more about that place. And more about who I was in it.

That’s my desire.

And I don’t even know what form that exploration will take yet–written, photographic, or filmic–I just know I want to do it.

Oh, and by the way, going there yesterday morning capsized my entire day. I got nothing done.

Such was my sense of overwhelm.

And I can’t ignore that. Could you?

Image by moi.

2 comments on “Elementary Musings.

  1. D'Arcy Norman
    April 14, 2011

    oh, shit. they closed eugene coste? dammit. I don’t know why, but that hit me really hard. like my (our?) childhood got erased.

    when I was doing my student teacher gig at Woodman Jr. High, Mrs. Hansen (remember her? grade 6?) was one of the teachers there. That was cool and strange. Mostly cool. And strange.

    But, dammit. Eugene Coste is gone. This is embarrassing – I used to wonder what it’d be like to have that school as my house. Where my room would be. What I’d put in the other rooms. What I’d do with the yard in the middle of the school (where the little kids played on concrete – maybe a go-kart track?) Maybe I can do that now… :-)


    • kim
      April 14, 2011

      Hi D’Arcy!

      I KNOW! It’s crazy, hey? It really rocked my world when they closed it. I still think about it. That place has a far stronger hold on my psyche than Robert Warren or E. P. Scarlett ever had. It’s strange, and fascinating all at the same time. (And I LOVED Mrs. Hansen.)

      And when I was peering in the windows, it seemed exactly the same. Even some of the signs were the same. And I can remember the layout so well, and have walked through it in my head a million times–including the inner “compound”! Ha! That’s what they called it: The Compound. Hilarious.

      Thanks so much for dropping by. It’s so good to hear from you again.


      P. S. I knew you didn’t unfriend me–that you merely nuked your fb account. :)


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This entry was posted on July 23, 2010 by in Long-winded Existential Angst and tagged , , , , .

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