Arena Elementary

The school where I work has these old built-ins. It also has the old-fashioned kind of chalk boards. I love that. I have to take photos because they’re seen so rarely now. In fact, I didn’t take photos of the outsides of the buildings quickly enough. One of the things I fell in love with when I interviewed for this job was the fantastic paint-job. Buildings were a multitude of colors, like a southwest sunset: gold, adobe, turquoise and grass green. Then, within weeks of my starting to teach there, painting began. I came to school one day, horrified to see them painting standard white with blue trim throughout the school.

Recently I had occasion to go into Room 5—currently the covid test room though it’s far larger than that activity requires—you could take a running start in socks and get a good slide down the empty floor. I saw these old built-ins and long blackboards, and decided I’d better start snapping photos before they get ripped out and replaced with modern stuff.

While we’re looking at old schools, here’s my mom’s class in Southern California in the 1930s. It’s strange to see her there and imagine the hours she spent, mind drifting, daydreaming. To look across this panorama of faces, each so full of personality, is like a journey.



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