As me and my son Ali were walking towards the car, Ali said to me:
“You know Dad, today is the last day of my school!”
His face was glowing with happiness, and his voice was full of excitement, but I was feeling a little gloomy. Glimpses of the last four years kept crossing my mind one after another.
Over the last four years, every morning, I have driven my kids to Medlock Elementary School, and during those years, I have heard the same phrase so many times but never felt the way I had felt yesterday. My daughter Iman graduated from Medlock Elementary in 2008, and my son Ali finished first grade this year.
But after this summer, I will never drive him back to Medlock because the school has closed its doors after 60 years as part of the school system's redistricting plan. After parking the car, Ali and I walked toward the school. The school's surroundings have always fascinated me. At the left side, there are so many lush, green, dense trees and across them you can see each classroom's windows. During these four years while dropping my kids off at the school countless times, I have seen blue robbins flying around or plunging from the trees to the ground.
On the right next to the school wall where its name is written in big letters, there is a pole on which an American flag is mounted on the top. So many times, I have seen different kids there, hanging the flag to the pole.
We entered in the school and while passing through its corridors, I looked at so many black and white and colored photographs of school’s past 60 years – pictures of students, teachers, former classes, events and extracurricular activities not unlike the many that were celebrated in the school's final weeks.
I thought about what those students had become. Doctors? Engineers? Scientists? Police officers? Politicians? Teachers? Authors? Most of them might have no idea that the very same school–which gave them their early education and provided their first introduction to letters, words, numbers, colors, lines, drawing–has now vanished forever.
Students and parents may never be able to enter the building again, but I am pretty sure its name and all the memories connected with it will always be in their hearts. Whenever they want to revisit it, they can just place their hands on their hearts and see the pictures of those golden memories from the past.