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Friday, March 5, 2010


The Old school house

There had been a for sale sign posted upon a rusted fence for as long as I could remember. Through all those years this patch of trees remained a static part of the background until the day the logging trucks arrived. It’s hard to find clusters of such stature near populated areas anymore so; it was a sad thing to see the culling of the old trees. For several weeks the sound of the saws and trucks filled the air as the thinning continued. On one particular afternoon work had seemed to come to a stop. As the scene came closer to view there was something different. As the loggers reached the center of the grove they made an unusual discovery. Hidden within a grove of trees there stood an old school house encircled for generations behind a veil of oak and chestnut. Those who passed along the road that bordered the fifty-acre site could not see nor did they have knowledge of this hidden jewel. Its whitewashed clapboards and reaching spire stood in stark contrast to the deep brown earth and swaths of green that framed it

Work had come to in abrupt end as the workers stood confused and took pause about their discovery. The question was asked, “Was this some historic site that should not be desecrated? Or should it be felled like the trees before it?” Shortly there after for fear or reverence work continued all around the sublime structure but the old structure stood intact, untouched by the machines of destruction. The trees eventually were all removed and still the schoolhouse stood naked upon a mound within a field of stumps and debris.
There was talk among folks you’d meet, amongst even the oldest of them, of whom none could recall this old building.

Being a student of history, I became fascinated with this buildings mysterious sudden appearance. I wanted to explore the grounds and wander within to perhaps discover how it came to be what I saw as kind of time traveler. However a construction fence was soon erected which made a casual visit impossible so I made a point of driving by regularly as to admire it from a distance. In my minds eye I wandered the grounds and imagined the children playing before the school bell rang and doing their arithmetic on slate tablets. These images although not real were as close as I would get in any sense to the reality of this place.

Soon the trees were replaced with new houses. In the midst of the construction the old school held on tenuously out of step and out of time. It however was a forgone conclusion that it would in eventuality be razed. So each time I passed I would look to see if it had survived for another day. One day it was gone as if had never been there and along with it the memory of the playing children and woods that protected them.

Soon the whole of America may be from sea to sea a vast network of neatly manicured cul-de-sacs. Is it perhaps due to the fact that we have taken said transformation as a forgone conclusion as I did with the disappearance of the little white schoolhouse?
In the few years since, still I have yet to meet anyone who had seen it before the trees came down. As the memory fades its image becomes more abstract and ghost like soon I will doubt it ever existed at all

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