You’re Never Too Old to Get Lost … In An Elementary School

Here’s one of the old Inside Outs from the newspaper up on here! Enjoy one from September 2010!

There were maps to the school available on meet the teacher night.

My husband scoffed.

I wasn’t so sure.

I went to a school that was shaped like an L. There were no wings. You went straight. Then you turned left.
Or you went went straight. Then you turned right.

If you were feeling especially ambitious, you went up a set of stairs. Then you went straight. And then . . . you guessed it. You turned right.

There was no way to get lost.

I’ve since been in dozens of school buildings – most of them right here in Sullivan County – but in the post-Columbine era the reporter is almost always escorted.

Which has worked out to mindless wanderings for me, consumed by little more than checking out the scenery while a guide keeps me on track.

I’ve been spoiled.

And now my kid’s in a new school (new to me anyway) with wings. And random hallways that jut out and make wonder, was I supposed to turn there? Or there?

Should I cut through the . . . wait, is that a gym? A cafeteria?

I’ll give the designers the benefit of the doubt. It will all make sense to me one day. Just not yet.

Now I’m still feeling like a newbie who just moved to Sullivan County trying to figure out the back roads.

Do they GPS map schools?

No? Maybe I’m onto something.

The kindergartner can use it the first few days, then bring it home for Mom and Dad to save them feeling ludicrous wandering the hallways and poking their heads in random classrooms on parent-teacher conference evenings.

If you haven’t been in an elementary school lately, a reminder: small chairs all start to look the same after awhile. You haven’t fit in any of them in decades.

Although now they stick tennis balls on the bottom to save the janitors from hours of scrubbing black marks off the floor.

I think we may have been shooting for those marks more so than the loud noise that made the teachers jump when we were kids. An apology to our janitors, wherever they may be.

It seems it’s more than the wings and the hallways that have disconcerted me.

That L was longer ago than I thought.

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