The other day our local paper The Independent, (yes I’m one of those weird people who still reads an old-fashioned newspaper) was sitting on the kitchen table, untouched, unopened and ready to be read. I sat down with my coffee and started to scan the headlines. When I got to the 2nd or 3rd page I saw a headline that caught my eye instantly about a local elementary school which is closing its doors forever next year.
But you see this isn’t any elementary school, this is my elementary school. The same school I attended kindergarten through fifth grade at. So many of my childhood memories are set to the background of Don Gaspar de Portola Elementary School. When I was there it was a California distinguished school but in the 25 years or so since than it has not held onto its distinguished status.
I had heard rumors that it was going to be closed down last year and then early in this school year I heard the official announcement. Hearing the news was a little sad, but didn’t affect me too much. At least not until I saw the article in the paper.
You see it was an article about an event held last week where teachers from Portola from its entire history met up for a small goodbye celebration. I wish I would have known because I would’ve been there in a second.
What it was in the article that tugged at my heartstrings were familiar faces. The first faces that leaped at me was the faces of the teachers who I see every day. Teachers who now teach at my son’s school and are years and years away from retirement. But in this picture, besides the teachers who work at my son’s school, were another batch of familiar faces.
MY teachers. My old principal, my old teachers. Suddenly I felt just how much Portola’s closing means to me.
I guess in my daily life Portola closing won’t really change anything. But somehow I can’t help but feel that when they close those doors for good next week, a little piece of me will always be there.
Cherry drops off the monkey bars, motor development, balloon day, performing in the Wizard of Oz, learning to read and long division. Friends and bullies and Halloween parades and Back-to-School nights. Hundreds of memories all buried deep in my conciseness.
So to Don Gaspar de Portola School I say goodbye. And to Mrs. Field, Mrs. Alvarez, Mrs. Hickey, Mrs. Reitter, Mrs. Young and my Ms. Brown, thank you for being the best teachers you could be.
In the article it said that on June 14th teachers from over the years will return to the school to help current teachers clean out their rooms for good.
I think I might head over there myself, with my own two elementary school kids in tow, to give my old Alma Mata a proper goodbye.