This was first and second grade for me. It’s an low income apartment house now. Everything changes. Jean took us by on the way to lunch. This was a jolt. I used to walk to school unescorted across a major road each day. Some days I had a dime to buy bread on the way home. Once I dropped the dime in the sidewalk and was distraught. Someone came along and gave me a dime. Hey, that was a lot of money back then. But I brought the bread home.
The formative years were grade school. At least they are the long school years with the same kids year after year. Third to the sixth grade in the same building, you remember a lot. Across the street lived Colleen. I played dodge ball, crossover, red rover red rover in the yard. There was no fence. The school was heated by coal. I learned to folk dance with my class for three years. I had the same teacher in fourth and fifth grade. My fourth grade class was a split class with fifth graders in one half the room. The school principal was our sixth grade teacher and his daughter was in my class. I could name my teachers. It doesn’t matter. And the kids, well, a few stick out. Mostly I don’t remember exactly who was in my class.
It’s an apartment house! After more than fifty years I returned to Elkins for the first time. It’s an apartment house. This is the building. I can see it as a school but not as a rental apartment. Shocked. Yes I am. Surprised, no not really. And the elementary school, it’s at the end of the block where my old house was located. The new school is new but doesn’t have the character. Whoa! The neighborhood changed.
Colleen grew up here when I knew her in grade school. The house is still there. It is across from our grade school Elkins First Ward. It’s pretty nice to cross the street to school. I remember visiting her once. I received an invitation to play with her. And what I can recall is that I was impressed by her older brother’s three speed English racer. I ride a 24 speed Specialized tricross bike now. But the three speed bike was so exotic when I saw it back then. As for the invitation, that part is murky. We did not get together again. Girls and boys kind of stayed apart. I regret that it was the bike I remember most.