In my last piece for The News Tribune, I mentioned my middle school teacher Mr. Pat Keaton.
He emailed me a few days later, congratulated me on my writing and then mentioned that Dieringer was celebrating its 125th year as a school district.
Would I like to go on a tour of the old school?
Well, yes. Yes, I had been thinking of asking the construction company that now owns it whether I could tour it for quite some time.
So here is my wonder for this week: a tiny school built in 1928. My 8th grade class in 1985 graduated about 70 students, and we were the biggest class in the history of the place. In this article you can see a photo of the graduating class of 1931 with eight students.
It looks even smaller now that it did then.
Petersen Brothers did an excellent job of utilizing the space while restoring and maintaining a historical site.
They even pulled out the projector from where it once sat above the gym. Apparently, the community used to gather to watch movies long before my time when there was a town of Dieringer, Washington tucked between Sumner and Auburn.
Middle school was not my finest hour.
Here you can see the baseball field paved over. Right here between the gym and the railroad tracks, I did not make the cut for girl’s softball. (I am not sure what I was thinking. I barely knew which hand to put in the glove.)
It fascinates me that I wanted to go back to the home of the Fighting Shamrocks.
Don’t get me wrong. You couldn’t get me to return as a student to the school of olden days even if you offered me an all-expense paid trip to the SCBWI conference in New York. I don’t mean those years did not wound me. Adolescence grabbed me by the shoulders and shook my soul until I wasn’t sure my head would ever stop spinning.
But, honestly, the tour gave me amazing perspective. The troubles I have now will someday look as distant as the experience with the softball team. Twenty years from now I may even visit the painful scenes of today with a sliver of nostalgia.
May you look at your past with wiser eyes and maybe even see today a little more softly-
A recycled bit on the wonder series:
As a part of my 2016 blog revision, I started a new small weekly post I call ‘Wednesday Wonders.’
One of my favorite things about writing and other art forms is the way they open my eyes to the surprises around me in my everyday life. Many of these wonders will also be in my Instagram account since I discovered the joy of that program during an advent photo project.
I collect these surprises like little rocks in a kid’s pocket. I may use them in a story. I may not. Either way, life gets a little brighter when I take the time to notice.