I saw a Facebook poster on someone’s page that read something about how everything and everyone in your life are temporary, so don’t get attached.
You’ll never see that on my page.
On Wednesday, I had the privilege of speaking to the Union County Extension Homemakers in the 4-H building. During the back-roads drive from Centerville to Liberty, I passed my maternal grandfather’s childhood home, my childhood home, my maternal grandmother’s home, my hometown church, my brother’s home, my elementary, junior high and high school. I loved seeing each and every one of my personal historic sites, and would drive by each of them, slowly, once a week, if my life allowed it.
Next to home, church and schools, the 4-H building was the top landmark of my youth. To have the opportunity to stand behind a lectern and talk about this real Sweet Land of Liberty, as well as my book, Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast, was an honor. I chose some columns I had written through the years to share with the hometown ladies. Joy.
I got to Liberty early so I could visit with my brother and sister-in-law. But I was still early (early is often my signature) to arrive at the fairgrounds. So I drove over to Liberty Elementary, parked, and went to the door and stared in like a stalker.
An employee spotted me and immediately came to the door and asked what I wanted. I explained that I only wanted to look inside because I went to school there 50 years ago. She asked my maiden name.
“I remember you,” she said, and with those magic words, she invited me to follow her around for a tour. I hadn’t expected that, but I wasn’t about to say no. We toured the kindergarten, first- and second-grade wings, passing the rooms of long-ago teachers Miss Goble and Mrs. Myers. The green chalkboards and paler green plastic cabinetry were still in place, so surprisingly familiar after so many decades.
“Does the office lobby still have those tile murals?” I asked.
“Sure does,” the employee said, showing me. They looked new, like no one had touched them in a half century. Amazing.
I explained where the old music and art rooms were. I could have found them in the dark, but they are no longer used for those purposes. We went into the lunchroom / gym. It looked the same, except for the wall paint. I shared memories such as the thrill it was in fifth grade when you were chosen as a lunch helper. “Not anymore,” the employee told me. “It would be considered punishment today.”
I would have loved to have progressed on down the other hallways, passing Mrs. Orr’s room across from the girls’ restroom; Mrs. Huntington’s room on the corner, then Mrs. Sipahigil’s, and Mrs. Davisson’s. Oh, I know, those teachers are all either retired or passed away now, but forever, they will be teaching in those classrooms in my mind.
I remembered that I had left my car window rolled down, car unlocked, purse and cell phone on the seat. As much as I wanted to continue the tour, I felt compelled to be responsible and return to the car. Besides, it was time to meet up with the Extension Homemakers for the program.
It was an unexpected trip down memory lane. In fact, Wednesday was filled with an assortment of memory lanes. As soon as I saw the Union County Line Road sign south of Abington, I couldn’t wait to cross over into the promised land.
Don’t get attached?