Friday, May 14, 2010


The weather was dreary and the skies were filled with rain when I arrived at my beloved high School building, to photograph it in the final stages of its demolition.
I was in an analytical frame of mind; I had long since prepared myself for the finale. I watched the careful separations of materials for recycling; that was good... I photographed with my lens poked through the holes of the tall chain-link fence that kept me off the property, and that worked well... Through the lens of my simple little camera, I recorded the demo company's means of keeping the dust on site, and I loved hearing from them that the interior had been stripped and recycled over the past six months...
My husband called attention to something I would want to photograph the moment it was happening; the wrecking ball was being positioned to begin the take-down for the central portion---the original classic building, near the doorway through which I had passed to begin and end each school day; the doorway with the lentil etched with the words that meant so much to many of us: "AS THE OPPORTUNITY, SO THE RESPONSIBILITY."
Carefully, I aimed and held my camera in place, and when I saw that I was shaking, I quickly set the camera's button that corrects that.
When that heavy wrecking ball hit against "my" building, I was surprised by my reaction, jumping backward as if I had myself been hit.
It hurt; I cried; I couldn't bear it; I was sorry I had come to see it.
The gloomy rain seemed suddenly appropriate.

I told my husband, take me home.

(Rose About Town will post the comments you might wish to share. Direct them to

COMMENTS: FROM BEN: "We all thought public high school was so easy after Catholic grade school... AND IT WAS! In my opinion, however, Harvey would be considered a premier "Charter School" by present educational standards.

FROM MARIAN: "I attended Village Angela Academy in Cleveland, sister school to St. Joseph High School. I came to love that old school a lot myself and felt terrible when it was torn down at the ripe old age of about 93. The modern new building was without much of the wonderful character of the old building. I wish I had taken pictures of it.

BETTY: "Thank you for documenting the demise of of that old building. I feel like part of me has passed away. It was so much an integral part of our youth... That was a building that had character. Now all the new schools look alike. Sad to see it go."

MARY: "I feel sooo sad... Whenever I came into town for a visit, I always stopped by our old alma mater."

FLORENCE: "Thanks, Rose, for saying farewell so eloquently... I'll have to buy a brick so we can have one at each end of a row of books... The other brick is one from Lorain High School, my husband Bob's alma mater, which was demolished this winter."

CONNIE: "I could not have watched it but I'm glad you were there... My grade school, my junior high (Champion) and now my high school are gone. All victims of age. No further comment."
(Connie is a member of UFO--the United Flying Octagenerians. Yes, that means she is a pilot who has reached the age of 80. But she is fit and involved; is still certified as a flight instructor; still flies her own airplane; runs a museum and an airport; is a township trustee; and by no means needs to be "torn down" to make way for something new.)

PEG: "I'm so glad I went back to the Last Dance. Oh, my!"

KATHY: "I wish they could have saved it."