They’re tearing down the junior high where I went to school in the early ‘70s. My senior high school, which I graduated from in 1976, is now a community and (appropriately) senior center.
I don’t miss them.
I learned a great deal about various subjects and myself when I was in school, but if I had to think of something that I miss, in an emotional way, it would be something that I first acquired in 1976 and lost some time in the past two decades.
When I started college, in the fall of 1976, I lived at home with my parents. My dad was a professor, and it made sense for us to share the ride in each day. He parked just off campus, a lot behind one of the fraternities that lined University Avenue. From there, it was a short walk to a café where I hung out sometimes before my first class, or a longer walk to Coffman Memorial Union or the West Bank campus.
But that first fall, I wandered through the wonders of just-off-campus shops in Dinkytown, and one of my first stops was along 14th Avenue, not far from its intersection with 4th Street (which I have always identified as that 4th Street). It was Gray’s Campus Drug at 327 14th Ave SE. I needed folders, paper, pens, stuff to fill my bag. I found those things—and something else. A light-blue hooded sweatshirt.
I’d never owned a sweatshirt before, let alone a hoodie. Just hadn’t been my style. But this one became my style, and I kept it for years. I wore it throughout my college career, into grad school, all over Europe (I believe) and it kept me warm at protests, camp-outs, you name it.
By 1986 it was pilled, dirty on the elbows, the cord was frayed, and I honestly don’t remember if the zipper still worked. But I had already lost it, in the way one loses one’s heart.
T had acquired it. At some point, I think she got rid of it—likely during one of our moves—but she wore it for years. And I think that’s the reason that I don’t miss my old schools all that much: They have to have meaning that you share with another person, and at those school, I just didn’t.
But that blue sweatshirt still comes up in conversation from time to time. If I ever find a photo of it, I’ll likely post it, and likely not.
Look what they’ve done to my song