It’s not every day that you visit your kids’ elementary school, especially if they graduated 30-some years ago. But when we heard that the Angier school building, age 93, would be torn down to be replaced by a brand new school and that they were having an open house to say “good-bye,” we had to go to represent the family.
So last Sunday, we parked our car in the old neighborhood and walked through Waban Square (the town center) to go back to school. Still there, the shoe repair shop, hidden down a flight of stairs. One summer, our son Seth ran errands for neighbors for a fee. The shoe repair shop errand cost more because he usually had to wait in line.
Also still there, the hardware store where everyone knew your name. Gone, Bob’s where the kids went to buy candy after school and Steve’s where they got their haircuts.
But visiting their elementary school was the highlight of the day. At the entrance stood J.W., the kids’ fifth grade math teacher, now retired himself, and Mrs. Peterson, the red-headed, ebullient music teacher, now white-haired and also retired. And we recognized a few of the kids’ old friends, some with their own kids in tow.
We toured the school building with two current fifth graders, members of the final graduating class, and signed our names on the wall in the entry hall.
End of an era.