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Saturday, May 30, 2009

They're Tearing Down Our Memories...

And these I see-these sparkling eyes,
These stores of mystic meaning-these young lives.
Building, equipping, like a fleet of ships-immortal ships!
Soon to sail out over the measureless seas,
On the soul's voyage.
~Walt Whitman
...and he the pilot, who has laid the course
For all to steer by honest, unafraid-
Truth is his beacon light, so he has made
The name of the old school is a living force.
~Andrew Barton Paterson
They are tearing down our memories...brick by brick, throughout the Summer of '09. Wilbur Wright High School has stood her ground, yes, for 83 long years she has weathered what life has thrown at her. But they say she is too old now and, as seems to be the fashion in this country, she will torn down to make way for the new. Still, for those of us who loved her, and our ranks are many, she will remain in our memories and in our hearts.
I was student director of "Our Town" and also drew the cover image for the playbill. (Yes, it seems rather childish now to me too!)
This montage was found in the alumni room along with so many things from our school's proud past..
For a few hours last Saturday, alumni were invited back to tour their beloved school. The hallways were filled with people from all age groups, walks of life and socio ethnic groups. We were bound together by our shared affection for this place and memories of school days past. I shared this tour with 3 of my dearest friends, friends who knew me then, know me now and still seem to like me. Imagine that! Such connections are priceless...
This is also the year my graduating class will celebrate our 35th reunion. Seeing the old school become a pile of brick and steel will be hard on so many.
Are all our memories sweet? Of course not. Very few of us get out of High School without experiencing a broken heart, some embarassment, a little fear...for some those unpleasant emotions were brief, for others, they were an all too familiar, much too constant, ache.
But there are those precious memories that, as we age, seem to take center stage in our stories & in our mind's eye and make us smile broadly.
This old building has seen her share of pain, victory, laughter and tears. She has lived a good life, a full and rich lfe.
2 years ago the city of Dayton razed our elementary school, the place I called my home away from home from Kindergarten through the 8th grade. They built, in it's place, something shiny and new and technologically more savvy but lacking any real heart, any real soul.
To read the post I did about that, just click on this link ~Kemp Elementary~
And now it's my High School's turn.
We all came for one last look...and to say goodbye. Good bye to the Wilbur Wright that I knew...you will never be forgotten.

23 comments:

Kathleen Grace said...

What a shame Susie! I find these old schools so beautiful, not just because of the memories, but the details and architecture are just not the same in new buildings. I have always thought they should be turned into art studios or een mini malls for artisans. Anythng to keep them alive. Why don't we respect our old buildings anymore?

Bonnie said...

What a great building. And so much history. When they built a new high school in Haverhill, MA, where I"m from originally, they actually made the old high school into the city hall and merge all the utilities into one building. So that part of history stayed. It's a shame they can't do something like that with Wilbur Wright. I like Kathleen's idea about an art studio or even an historic society type place. Those old buidings are truly beautiful and have tons of personality, unlike the totally cookie cutter buildings of today.

Holly said...

How sad! She looks like such a beautiful building. It is nice to hear they gave you the chance to go in, share memories, and take pictures.
Progress sometimes seems less attractive, and as you said, has less heart, soul, and character. I do like the ideas of Kathleen and Bonnie, to repurpose the building!

Anonymous said...

hey s.q., janet says you might stop blogging! how would we know about the school, or how fabulous you are if you stop that? please consider staying on!!! you are loved! jkj

Cass @ That Old House said...

Oh Susie, what a shame. Why do we think that young people must be in NEW buildings to learn? If that were true, our ancient universities would be graduating numbskulls -- some of their buildings are many hundreds of years old!

Ridiculous, and what a waste. But I am very impressed that you directed the school play! What a great memory.

I hope you took a lot of "heart pictures" of the old school; they can't be taken away.

And thanks for visiting
That Old House. She loves her blogging friends!
Cass

Kat said...

Hi Sweet Sue

FYI...I have decided to try blogging again. I hope you'll visit me at my new blog, STARTING OVER

http://startingover-justabeachkat.blogspot.com

Hugs!
Kat

Fifi Flowers said...

Great architecture... thanks for the tour!

Dana and Daisy said...

that is so sad, and a real shame for preserving the history of our country!

Lisa said...

This is really sad. We drove by Brent's old middle school just this morning. It was all boarded up and looks very lonely. Those old schools look like they are full of memories. It makes me sad. I had to laugh when I read your comment about your cat. We kenneled our Boxer Frankie several years ago. He was so bad barking all the time, the vet put him in the barn with all the cows. I'll never forget picking him up, he looked bewildered. After that he didn't like 4 legged creatures larger than he...

Rosemary said...

So sad Susie!
Sometimes change is bad.
My high school hasn't changed since I went there. I hope it doesn't ever. It's never the same.
Glad you got to go in for a visit one last time. Such a great old building.
Have a nice week!
Chat soon,
Rosemary

Melissa said...

How bittersweet to visit your old school! The church where Jason and I married is already torn down, and we were the first couple married there! The contractor (a church member) did most of the work himself, but did such a shoddy job that the whole place had to be razed. (They would've sued him, but wouldn't you know it, he had passed on by that time.) The church sold the property, which still stands vacant, and started over several miles away. It's so sad to drive past there now and remember what once was!

Sheila said...

Sad to see the old building go; but the memories you have will last forever!

Allidink said...

Aw that's too bad. What a beautiful building!

All the best,
Allison

the wild raspberry said...

i would be in tears! i hate to see buildings like these destroyed. so sad.
i hope that you can get a piece of the school as a keepsake.
your photos are perfectly lovely!
chasity

Jeanie said...

Oh, Sue, this almost brought tears to my eyes. There is a very good chance that will also happen to my high school alma mater. An old building, stately, with beautiful details, much as you show here. It's really tough to experience that. I'm so sorry.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I hate when an icon like that is torn down in the name of "progress" I am a preservationist at heart. We destroy our own history.

I'm glad you had a chance to gather and relieve some of the good memories.

Betty's corner of the world said...

Oh my ... Your beautiful photos of your "beautiful" school brought a tear to my eye ...It looks very much like the high school I went to ... John C. Fremont in Los Angeles .. I'm happy to say it's still standing ... What a shame ... I live in a small town now and the old high school here which was built in 1915 has been "remodeled" and now looks like a prison .. what's with some people?? :^( Hugz .. Betty

Sara G said...

So glad you were able to go and take these pictures. It is always a sad occasion to see a beautiful building being tore down. All those memories.
Also glad to hear they opened it up for visitors.

salmagundi said...

How sad! My grade and high school buildings are gone, too; but they can't tear down the memories. We've been out of high school 53 years now, but a lot of us are still close friends. Most of them, I started first grade with - it was a small town. Hold onto your good thoughts of time passed. Sally

Gretchen said...

Sad for you.

Our high school is now a sort of admin bldg. It was built in the 20s and is so elegant. I'm glad my kids get to go see it when we go back to CO, but it's not the same.

Lurved the checkerboard floors!

Neabear said...

What memories! This year is 35 years for me too since I graduated from high school. I never did hear anything about a reunion. I have not attended since the 15th. There was a 20th and a 25th, but it was too costly for us to go at the time. Thanks for visiting my RED post today. Glad you enjoyed it.

Now a question for you:
I have been wondering what has happened to Carolyn at Cranberry Crossings. I noticed that her blog posts have been deleted but her blogsite is still up. I hope she is okay. I know there were some family issues going on and wonder if she had to delete everything because of that. Not knowing how she is doing is somewhat worrisome. I saw that you are one of her followers. Do you know anything and whether she is okay?

Thanks!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Why do they have to tear down all the gorgeous old buildings? Do they do that in Europe? If they did...would we want to visit? I don't get it. Thankfully, I have just found out they are turning my old elementary school into a hotel/conference center. I guess it helped that it sat on a bluff overlooking the river. :) Hi Susie Q. How are you? xo Lynn

Jim Rittenhouse said...

*big deep sigh* I wish that I'd been healthy enough to travel for this last visit...