The high school where I work is such an amazing building; one with so much character and history, it’s hard not to love it despite its aging flaws. It was built in 1922 and built to look like a castle with quite a few hidden rooms, tunnels, and interesting areas. A major film in the 80s was filmed there (I’m not saying the name of the school or film just in case some of y’all are crazy stalkers), a reality show was filmed there in the 90s, and the town it is in is historical and beautiful as well. We have had a fair share of celebrities, politicians, and athletes walk the halls of our high school and become successful adults.
When I walk through the halls I can sometimes picture what the halls looked like in the past. The kids wearing the fashions of their era, the conversations that were probably not very different than the ones they have now, and the number of historical events that happened in the world around it. I imagine the students and teachers who learned of JFK’s assassination while in the building. The students who attended during World War II and the uncertainty of the world around them. The ones who were there during the Vietnam War and could only pray for the safe return of their loved ones in the military.
I can see teen girls talking about an Elvis record in the 50s and The Beatles in the 60s. They’d be in shock when James Dean was killed in a car accident and beside themselves when they learned of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper. When I’m in the theatre I can almost see some of the actors on the stage who got their start in our theatre program. You can flip through old yearbooks and see pictures of future professional athletes as they fell in love with their sport.
The class photos are even more fascinating; the kids seem older, perhaps wiser, with faces riddled with more worry (or so it seems). Maybe it was the world they were growing up in? While we imagine “simpler times”, those times were also stressful for those living it. The wars, social conflicts and inequalities, and the amount of responsibilities on their shoulders that our current generation couldn’t imagine.
Now, my son goes there and is part of making the history for his generation. My daughter will be there next year and will be the 100th graduating class. And the days when I feel overwhelmed and stressed out, it’s always sort of calming as I walk through the empty halls at the end of the day and imagine the echoes of the past. It’s a beautiful, old building with character and a life of its own. I’m honored to work there!