I find it fascinating that often the nicest building in small towns is the elementary school. My mother's siblings attended this one in Drummond, Idaho. She, being one of the eldest in the family, traveled by wooden sleigh with a wood stove during the snowy winters to a small one room school house nearer to home. I was always fascinated with the empty school in Drummond which we passed by on our way to the ranch on Conant Creek for reunions and visits.
For first and second grade I attended a similar one, the Park School, in Sugar City, Idaho. I wrote more about it here. It had four classrooms, two first grade on the bottom floor and two second grade on the upper. This school will forever remind me of "Silver Bells." We first graders learned it for the Christmas program. "Silver Bells" was first released in 1951 but I don't remember hearing it until practicing with our classroom musical instruments. I think I played a triangle. I still love this classic song.
The Plano School west of Sugar City was where I attended grades 3 through 6, moving to Arizona in November of sixth grade. It sat at a crossroads with a church across the road to the west. The entrance you see was on the north side of the school. I have many fond memories of this school. I recently learned that it was a high school before becoming an elementary school. I guess that accounts for the cafeteria and gymnasium with a stage in the center of the school. The classrooms ringed the gymnasium. Believe it or not, I was a basketball star at that school. Being taller than most everyone, I was pretty good at making a basket especially when we played the game we called a long and two shorts, a long shot being the same as two close up baskets. I was often the last man standing.
I played kick ball many recesses. We were also pretty creative with other games and activities. To the east of the school was an open ditch. One day while jumping over it in some game we had invented, I landed in the ditch on a board with a nail in it. I can't imagine students having access to such a thing these days. It was painful, but even more painful was the daily penicillin shots to my bum to ward off infection.
One of the things I enjoyed most was our weekly singing/music time. We would sit on benches in the gymnasium and learn songs, most important Christmas songs. I loved Christmas because of the music. I even practiced the piano more willingly during the season because of the Christmas music.
My fifth grade classroom windows are toward the front of the school on the right. My saddest day at Plano was the November afternoon when we were told that President had been shot and killed in Dallas. It was in that classroom and I will never forget it nor my teacher, Mr. Clements, and his silent despair.
Not one of these buildings is still standing but looking at these pictures brings back an avalanche of memories and a stream of faces from long ago.
Plano and Drummond pictures courtesy of Upper Snake River Historical Society.