Thursday, June 26, 2014

Moments in Time...Memories of the Old Alpine School!

Gone, but not forgotten...
In the misty landscapes of my dreams, the old Alpine School still waits at the top of crumbling steps.  Rough grass has sprung up through the cracks in the surface of the deserted tennis court and the merry-go-round has rusted in place. On the old flag pole, where we lined up at the bell, a tattered flag flutters like fingers waving goodbye.

A wild October breeze whistles and dances through the bones of the rickety fire escape as if laughing spirts have flown down from Cemetery Hill to play hide-and-go-seek.

Hide and Seek...
My friends, Kim and Cathy Pam, are inside the school somewhere, but I cannot find them.  I search for them through dark and dusty hallways.  Maybe they are hiding in Miss Greenwood's cloak room.  No...I must have just missed them.  The kindergarten room looks the way I remember if the children have only just gone out to recess.

The playhouse still sits in the corner near the Story Time Rug.  Empty milk bottles line up like little glass soldiers on Miss Greenwood's desk, next to the Magic Wand used to waken us from nap time.  I so wanted to wave that wand over the other children, but I was too noisy to be the Naptime Fairy.

The Stairs...and Mr. Nicholes...

Echoed giggles drift down the stairs.  How I hate those stairs when I dream.  No matter how badly I need to reach the top...they keep growing steeper and STEEPER.  I am so afraid I am going to fall that I crawl up them on my hands and knees.

If I fall and hurt myself, will someone take me to Mr. Nicholes' office and bandage my knee?  Little kids were taught (by the big kids) to be afraid of the principal.  But he was the nicest man in the world, I thought.  He always had a kind word for shy little girls.

In the picture on the left, Mr. Nicholes and some of his students bid the old school goodbye.  Alpine was growing and there were only four classrooms...for grades K through 3.  The older grades took a bus to school in American Fork.

An old photo of children playing Maypole.
The dream shifts...and I find myself in the old gymnasium, where the corners are hidden in shadows.  My imagination is working overtime because I see little boys in dungarees and little girls in shirtwaist dresses holding the tattered ribbons of a long-faded Maypole.  They skip gracefully in and out to silent music...never getting tangled in the ribbons like I used to.

The children disappear and I'm all alone in the gymnasium...where it's been festively decorated for my Aunt Jane's wedding reception.  It's a western theme...with wagon wheels and driftwood as part of the decor.  I'm wearing my flower girl dress, twirling around and around in the middle of the floor singing "Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah" at the top of my lungs.  I only know one verse...but it's repeated ad nauseum.  It's a good dream.  I dread waking...because when I do the school will be gone.

A trip down Memory Lane...
The building was of red brick with a granite foundation.  The sign over the arched entry read "Public School 1899."  More than 100 years have passed since it was built with such high hopes for the children who would grace its halls.  A school may be only boards and bricks and mortar, but it is the caretaker of our childhood.  We spent more hours within its walls than any place other than home...and it's forever gone!  It breaks my heart every time one more landmark of my life is reduced to rubble.

The Monument...
One day, feeling nostalgic...I drove slowly down the street where the school used to stand and pulled into the parking lot at Kencraft...a candy factory that used to make candy canes and fancy suckers.  In a park-like setting stands a sandstone and bronze monument created by sculptor Dennis Smith to commemorate the old school and the children who attended it.

Running my finger down the list of names on the plaque, I'm pleased to find my Father's name and well as my own and my brother Mike's.  It feels rather strange, because people who have their names on monuments are usually dead historical figures...not middle-aged housewives.'s comforting to know that there is a little piece of Alpine history with my name on it.

I hope you have enjoyed this trip through the past.
Where do your treasured memories lie?

Note:  Before I start on my Father's school days stories I wanted to repost my story on the old Alpine School that both my father and I attended. The first four photos were taken from the book "Alpine Yestedays" by Jennie Adams Wilde, one of Grandma Zetta's oldest and dearest friends.


Jann Olson said...

Shirley, I need to go find this little plaque. What sweet memories! We wound the Maypole in our grade school and oh what fun it was! They no longer do that tradition. A little sad, if you ask me. Grovecrest still stands and I drive by it often.

Linda said...

What a neat memory and how cool to find your name and other family members names on the plaque.

Mabel's Daughter said...

I love these trips down your memory lane:-) I didn't know Mike's name was on that plaque. Now I have to go find that monument!

Margaret said...

That is so cool. I love how you take us on your journeys! Maggie

Musings from Kim K. said...

You are such an amazing writer. Love these glimpses into your family and town's history.

Laura Adams said...

Hello Shirley,

I am still here! Just super busy with my grandbaby :) I love the stories that you dig up...I am grateful to have all of the memories of my growing up and love sharing them with my children...times were so different then...I want to go back!