"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

13 August 2011

Norris With Adult Eyes

Of course we took it all for granted. Growing up way out in the country, Norris was the Mecca of places to see and be seen... by other kids of course. All the cool kids lived in Norris, hung out together, walked to each other's houses, didn't ride the hideous school bus. Norris was where the kids were.

This week was the first week of school in Norris and as I came back into my old hometown with my own kids in tow, it seemed really weird that the streets were empty of kids. Probably, when the middle school let out, there were plenty of kids at the old-fashioned soda fountain, kind of Mayberry style, buying chocolate malted drinks and whatever sugary thing they could afford with their pocket money. But in the late morning when I went in for a cup of coffee, only my own were spinning on the stools.

We drove past Norris Elementary School yesterday and my husband casually remarked that he never went to school there. I did, even though it wasn't our district. I was there from first grade through fifth, before moving across the Commons to Norris Middle.

Homeschoolers are we, so off we went to the old Norris Grist Mill. Its kind of iconic, timeless, the destination of at least half a dozen school field trips in as many years that I was in Norris Elementary. My husband notes that he'd never been in the nearby museum. "That's because you didn't go to Norris Elementary," I replied. He notes that he'd never been inside the grist mill building. "That's becasue you didn't go to Norris Elementary."

I can't say I'm all that nostalgic about Norris Elementary, and my thoughts on the Midddle School are far from warm and fuzzy. (Still, Norris Middle School was in 1960 Norris High School, from which my father graduated, and he had fonder memories, I suppose.) Still, its interesting how the places and experiences of our childhoods shape us. Part of me expected to be able to walk right into those schools and still find the same teachers, and the only one to have aged would be me. But now its my friends' children who grace those halls, and some of my friends, the former students of those schools, are back as teachers. And most, though not all, of those teachers I knew are now retired. The ones that aren't retired turned out to have been surprisingly young when they were my teachers, tenured and experienced teachers who we thought had been there since the dawn of time but were really closer to the age I am now.

My husband remarked that maybe you can't go home again; but I don't think its that. You can go back to the places and see some of the same people and intuitively know how to find what you need to find. And it is the sameness that strikes you as pleasantly out of place, not the difference. The man who lived next to my grandmother still lives next to her old house, why is he still there? My same cousin still teaches at the elementary school; her great-grandson is going to be graduating from there this year, will she finally retire?

Its kind of cool how time marches in uneven phases, how some things zip ahead and some get left behind. Admittedly disturbing, but still, kind of cool.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this, Tara. Susy and I just got back from a long weekend in California, where we attended my high school class reunion, #40. Lots of thoughts about relationships old and new, about how early life experiences and memories of early life experiences continue to shape us for good and for ill all along the rest of the way, etc. Blessings . . . .