I made a day trip to my birth place Saturday to visit my aunt and uncle. They live in the house I grew up in until the age of 10 when we moved to Texas.
I haven't considered Lawton "home" for a very long time. I truly am Texan, not by birth, but by choice. Still, there is something to be said about going back to what once was my home.
I have fond memories of people, places, and my elementary school. Garfield Elementary. Terry Martin, Principal. Betty Jo Givens, my kindergarten teacher. Miss Priddy, my first grade teacher who made me eat the disgusting mashed potatoes. Miss Foster whose birthday is January 29th, Miss Chidester who asked me to represent the 3rd grade at the Bicentennial celebration, and Mrs. Beckman, the meanest teacher in school. I also have dear memories of my music teacher, but her name escapes me.
I drove down the street I had walked since Kindergarten and thought that something didn't look quite right. Then it hit me. My elementary school had been torn down. According to my cousin, this happened a couple of years ago. Apparently, they had an issue with mold.
I close my eyes and I can hear voices bouncing off the tile. I remember we didn't have air conditioning when I was there. I remember buying a bag of popcorn every Friday for a dime. I remember gathering in the auditorium to watch films. I remember saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the small flag attached to the top of the teacher closet in each room.
I have vivid memories of walking home, hand in hand with Mark McGee, when the air around us exploded with the sound of tornado sirens. Oh Mark...I had such a huge crush on him(it started at the age of 5 and continued until a year after I moved). He lived a couple doors down from my grandparents. Mark had black hair, piercing blue eyes, and an infectious smile. He teased me unmercifully throughout every grade. I lost track of him after high school and to this day, still wonder what happened to him.
Anyway, my beloved little elementary school is no more. To my consternation, it was rather upsetting and I got a bit teary eyed. I'm not sure why it bothered me. I left it all behind in fourth grade.
Maybe its the loss of a small part of myself.