Recently, I was struck by the powerful urge to take some pictures at my old elementary school. It was kind of odd and out of the blue, but there was no denying it once the idea took root. I even knew exactly the shots I wanted to get. So the next time I was in town, early one sunny Sunday morning, my camera and I took a walk.
Maybe it's because I could count the number of times on one hand that I've returned since sixth grade graduation, but walking around the school playground took me back in time. I was the only person there - not surprising for 6:45 a.m. - but I heard echoes. I remembered walking up the path with my neighborhood gang, bursting with pride when I started first grade and no longer had to veer to the right toward the kindergarten playground. Big kid land: I had arrived. How impossibly tall the tires seemed. Playing four square and locked games of double dutch. A music class in kindergarten when we all went outside and banged wooden sticks together on the blacktop. Lining up after recess on our room numbers. Perching on the monkey bars with a group of "cool" girls in fourth grade, gossiping about boys and singing songs. Pushing friends into the Love Box and proclaiming they loved the ickiest boy in our grade, then blocking the Hate Box so they couldn't reverse the spell. Standing in the Love Box myself to declare my adoration of Jordan Knight, infinity plus one, and then upping it to infinity plus infinity after Jodie tried to claim him for herself. Tossing a rock into the funnel ball chute in lieu of a ball, until Heidi got beaned on the head. Climbing the mountains of snow created by plows on the blacktop's perimeter in winter. The feeling of being a kid, which you sometimes forget was a very distinct feeling, until a certain expanse of pavement and some familiar brick walls erase twenty years, and there you are again.
The photos turned out well, I think. Below are a few; the rest are here.