Saturday, May 21, 2011

"My" classrooms... memories of my schools

Only a few people know this... I am extremely sentimental. I'm not sure why... maybe it's because I love history and studying what happened "before" to understand what is happening now. Anyway, in talking to Bobby Tanzilo of "On" at the Press Club Newsmaker luncheon of the future of Milwaukee, we agreed that there is a lot of history in every MPS building that has yet to be explored.

My personal history in MPS was in Keefe Avenue School, E.L.Philipp and Rufus King High School. Learning was lots of fun to me. Every subject (except math) was interesting. Now, don't go thinking I was a bookworm or brainiac or one of the smart kids... NOT.

I was an ordinary student, with ordinary grades but I remember loving the places in which I learned.

Here is a random list of things I remember from my years in MPS classrooms:

Giant windows that let in lots of sunlight and warmth (if the teacher did not pull down the shades)
Pulling down the shades for the teacher.
Drafts that came in around the glass of those windows on winter days.
Creaky hardwood floors.
Desks that were bolted to the floor.
Always sitting in the back of the room because the teachers assigned our desks alphabetically and I was a "W".
Daydreaming about the pictures and maps the teachers put on the walls around the room.
A giant chart of the periodic table of elements that I never really learned, but thought it looked cool because you could list everything that made up the whole world in a chart.
Radiators that sometimes clanked
Milk sitting on radiators (need I say more?)
Going up the "up" stairs and down the "down" stairs in high school ( a rule that has been abandoned, but I believe should be revived!!)
The fireplace in the kindergarten room at Philipp (part of what made it an historic site)
The beauty of the old approach to Keefe Avenue School on a warm spring day.
The little park across the street from Keefe Avenue School where an ice rink was created in winter.
The Little Theatre (RKHS grads know what I mean)

Whew, that's a lot. But I felt my schools were more than places to learn the three "R's", they were a second home.  I really liked my school buildings after school, when the crowds had left and I could roam the halls alone and peek into rooms and even run without a hall monitor yelling.

So, when I hear about a school closing, I feel a personal loss (MPS closed Philipp and I cried). I know the fiscal reasons, but there is more to a school than dollars and cents. There are memories and sometimes, love.

If you have any memories, please share them.

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