He was standing on the green grass,
Leaning forward, eyes pressed to the camera, grey hair, slightly long, sneakers…watching…
Cars pulling in and gawking, eyes glistening with tears…
Other vehicles driving by slowly, eyes straining;
While a big hungry machine, teeth grabbing and pulling, was uncovering the guts and sinews of a building we all shared and treasured.
The man came over to talk to me since I was like the rest, unmoving, watching the death of the centerpiece of this town.
It was built long ago, my grandmother was proud to be one of its first graduates in 1934…along with all of her brothers and sisters, her children including my mom, and all of us. The construction was straight as an arrow, the lines pure, no sagging or tipping…high ceilings for that time, woodwork, intricate brickwork …made with us in mind.
It was supposed to last forever.
The man’s glasses were slightly fogged; he leaned far into Daisy, our bright yellow Ford Explorer, and asked,
“Did you go here?”
“Yes,” I told him, my eyes slightly misty.
“I graduated in ’44 and right after I got my papers and went to war.”
“Nothing lasts, does it?”, he said.
Since high school friendships soon will sever
And fade as does the dying day.
New comrades will our lives enlighten
As in the world we wend our way;
And yet whatever be life’s fortune
Tho memory fails, for friends we sigh,
We’ll love thee still, our Alma Mater
Our Central Cambria High