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.
For the next month or so I am going back to old photos. Jean sent me this photo. It is a group shot of my fourth grade folk dance group. We were named the A Cappers after our teacher Mrs Cappidoni seen at right. And to her right is Colleen. And at her shoulder is Anne. Both girls are married and maiden names are changed. This leads me to long story short. I searched for Anne on the internet many years after we were all adults. In the course of my search Colleen chanced to leave her maiden name on the high school website. We connected.
The costumes were as you see them. The boys wore vests and sash with a string tie. And the girls wore skirts and tops with a white blouse. My partner was Beverly center girl front row. In all these years I have been in touch with only Colleen. Well I corresponded with Anne by email once. She had nothing more to say. I can safely assume she will not chance across this comment. She was my neighbor growing up.
My search for Anne was merely a wish to know whether she was happy and her life had turned out well. You may surmise that of this group many of our lives turned out much differently than you might tell from this grade school picture.
And Colleen has told me she intentionally stood in front of Anne those many years ago. But I recognized her eyes. Yes, I am being intentionally obtuse. Who’s eyes?