Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Some stories require more backstory than simple narration. This is one such story.

I grew up in the bush. Really in the bush. The kind of area where you learn about snakebites and changing tyres before you learn about Nintendo 64's - not that we had a Nintendo 64, but a kid down the road a bit did. To get to my primary school, which was also in the bush, my mother would drive me over dirt roads to a nondescript crossroads in the middle of nowhere. From this crossroad, the school bus would pick me up, along with a few other kids from the area, and take us the rest of the way to school. The school itself, when I started, had just three buildings: the permanent classroom, the portable classroom, and the sports supplies shed. It wasn't long before they took the portable away and we had to divide the so-called "big room" into two. We only had 27 pupils, so one class consisted of prep to grade three, whilst the other class was grades four to six. However even that 27 rapidly diminished, and shortly after I moved away from the area the school was closed down. They haven't done anything with the property or buildings yet, it's all still there just like it used to be, and that's where I dragged Aidan on the weekend! I had to see the old place again before they demolish it.

I swear the entire grounds and buildings have shrunk to about half their previous size. The play equipment is all wussie plastic now instead of metal. It's a short walk to the back of the property instead of the long run it used to be. But despite those things, I still feel that the place is exactly like it was. So many memories! I can't believe I'd forgotten all about Trog the Dog - beloning to our prinicpal and becoming something of a school mascot. And the time some of us convinced ourselves that the place nextdoor was haunted, and we spent ages staring at it petrified that something might prove us right! I remember a girl called Amanda hogging the swing all lunchtime, probably because nobody would play with her. I remember us girls being taunted if, when upside down on play equipment, our underwear should accidentally become visible - and our standard response to the boys: "It's only a piece of material!" Oh, how young we all were, and how naive!

I hope they find a use for the old place - it's been suggested that it become a meeting place or serve some function within the community, rather than demolishing it. It would be sad to see the old school gone. Particularly as it comprises approximately one-quarter of the buildings within the "township"! (Fire station, community hall, general store/cafe, and school. All the residences are in what you might call the outskirts, eg farms.) So I'm glad I dragged Aidan all the way there, over unsealed roads in our rented car, despite the hassle it was to get there. Just to see the place one last time, to say goodbye.


Aidan said...

The Ruffy produce Store was the best:) So much good food!

Glad i could drive you up honey, it was a great trip..

Anonymous said...

Hi. Glad you had a good trip. Did the car make it okay?

Stace said...

Andrew, the car made it just fine but only because we rented one instead of taking our own! haha

Jewel said...

Now this sounds like something I would love to do! I would have joined you had I been a tad closer. *smile* The school where I attended all 12 years is now gone and a new building is in its place. But, you're right, Stace, those old schools contain sooooo many growing up memories. My, my. There was 21 in my graduating class and most of us went through all 12 grades together. Our school was also rural, in a small village called Union Furnace. We had a post office, two small stores, two churches, and a fire department. Thanks for sharing the memories with us. It was a pleasure to read.

lee said...

stace -I had to pinch myself reading this -we went to such similiar schools. It is closed now, too.One of the buildings has been carted away, the tennis court is overgrown with grass and the grounds are in a mess.It's very sad :(.Was lucky enough when it was closing to be invited to come and take some things-so ended up with an old school map -you know the ones that hang on the classroom wall, quite a few books, and a couple of tutor systems sets.Very happy to have them.

Frank Baron said...

It's fun revisiting old haunts. And it's a darn good thing you did it at your age because if you'd waited 'til you were mine you would have forgotten where it was.