A Trip to School

Beyond our backyard was a large wasteland of an open field; grassy patches with molds of mud hills popping out from the ground, too treacherous to walk on for fear of tripping on a blind spot and falling into a mushy substance. The trails to school were burned with red gravel that crackled and popped with the sound of bike wheels running over it; while clouds of red dust would waft through the air once you slammed on your brakes.

The playgrounds were built with strong oak wood, and consisted of tire swings that would hang from a bulky chain and twist tighter with each rotation, sending out a fast, fun release once it could no longer hold its constriction. The neighbourhoods were small and familiar with winding sidewalks, narrow roadways, and each house looking different but the same all at once.

The elementary school was a brown, rectangular shape with little tinted windows on the North and South sides peering into the different classrooms. At the front stood a wooden statue of a carved out Blackfoot Chief wearing a giant headdress which was the school’s insignia. There were two sets of red steel doors at the front and back of the school;  each home room had their own designated door to enter into. Inside were white, metal racks on the wall for exchanging your outdoor shoes for your indoors. As you traveled to home room the floor would change from white, smooth tiled, linoleum into brown, freshly vacuumed carpet. The walls in the hallways were pasty white but were but were decorated with old class photos dating back to when the school began.

Inside home room, you would find your own coat hanger at the back, screwed into a bright orange piece of plywood with a sticker of your favorite color and your name on it. The walls were usually full of different crafts from the students, and did not discriminate on talent, as the mantra in the classroom focused on participation, and encouragement, rather than talent or lack thereof. Filling in the gaps were pictures of cuddly cartoon animals,with thought bubbles about the importance of education. At the front wall, above the blackboards was a long strand of 26 poster papered piano keys, each one containing a letter from the alphabet. The blackboard was freshly wiped off and cleaned from the day before, which was thanks to the unsung hero known as the night janitor.

The teacher would be sitting at her desk, with her head down eating some fruit from a plastic container, and reading the day’s lesson plan waiting for class to begin. Sometimes a student would walk to her desk with a question or something to share with her which she was more than happy to oblige. Each desk in the classroom was brown with a large black drawer containing all of your basic needs. We were lined up in five rows, I positioned myself in the middle, so as not to associate myself with the eager front row, or the slackers at the back. Two desks down sat Lisa MacIssac, the girl of my dreams with blue overalls and a pinkish white New Kids on the Block t-shirt. Her hair was dark brown and her glasses matched. She had a funny curve to her smile that fit her face perfectly. As she passed a pencil to the person between us, our eyes met, and I scooted my seat to look forward. I fished out my notebook for class as well as my text-book which was always laid out on the far right corner. The clock would strike 8:20, the bell would ring, and class would begin.

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