Whoosh! A great big recking ball is smashing, smashing my childhood memories. With each giant swing it is right now as I write, taking down Roosevelt Elementary School on LaBelle View in Steubenville, Ohio. Or at least this growing pile of wreckage is playing havoc, trying to obliterate my time within its rooms.
Whoosh! The dark red brick walls that weathered six feet snow drifts, baking sun and mis-guided baseballs rebounding off the impressive structure. Gone.
Whoosh! The wooden floors that always smelled of linseed and Pinesol that always squeaked a chorus of ‘foot’ notes. Gone.
Whoosh! The piercing sound of the siren that let us know we had to fly up the two blocks from home as fast as our legs would allow on those days we lingered too long at breakfast. Gone.
Whoosh! My wooden desk that someone decided to immortalize with his initials “PJ” that always filled with my rubber erasure dust. Gone.
Whoosh! The cement steps we ran down at noon to go home for lunch, my girlfriends peeling off at each house they called home. Mothers would always be there with a hot lunch waiting and a kiss goodbye at the end of the hour. Gone.
Whoosh! The second floor windowsill my friend Donna and I leaned from to wave goodbye to her dad’s cousin, Dean Martin with Jerry Lewis after they visited our school. I so hoped to get discovered and go to Hollywood. Gone.
Whoosh! Gone are the memories of leaving the blue collar steel town, filled with smoke from the mills that covered the tall statue of General Von Steuben in front of the court house.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Just as easy as that. Gone.