When my mother was a kid, she used to proudly announce whenever her parents drove past her elementary school: “That’s my school, my toilet.” This statement makes more sense if you remember that she went to a small school in then rural Zanesville, OH, with an outhouse. Perpetuated as family stories are through telling and re-telling, when I was growing up we never referred to my school with out mentioning the toilet, even though mine came with indoor plumbing and individual stalls.
I tried it a couple of times with my kids and they gave me those narrow-eyed stares that meant the story was just not working for them and toilet talk from Mom wasn’t as nostalgically amusing as I thought it to be.
Life moves on. My old elementary school, its worn marble staircase and toilets with wooden doors, is now a parking lot for the high school. Today, when I think of my home school (my toilet), I think of Westerly Elementary in Bay Village, OH. That’s where my oldest daughter Katie started kindergarten (before it became an intermediate school), where Kelly attended and it is the home of a whole stack of poems, from my long ago encounter with Mrs. Woodburn that lead to The Dog Ate My Homework, to the list poem about a school in my book Zombies!
So, a visit to Westerly is always like going home. Thanks to the efforts of Martha Fisher, we had a spectacular visit the first week in January. I was even able to give Mrs. Woodburn a hug. Even though smart boards have replaced green boards, nothing has managed to replace the students love of poetry. Hooray!
And yes, the toilets work just fine.