Nothing Lasts

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.

The school…

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.

Atop the Verdant Alleghenies

Atop the Verdant Alleghenies

Our High School Stands Supreme

Our High School Stands Supreme

Whose Halls Shall in our Minds Forever

Whose Halls Shall in our Minds Forever

Abide with Us our Fondest Dream

Abide with Us our Fondest Dream

To Scenes that Seem so Much to Cherish

To Scenes We’ve Learned so Much to Cherish

Twill Be so Hard to Say Goodbye

Twill Be so Hard to Say Goodbye

As those, who Pledge with us Devotion

As those, who Pledge with us Devotion

Our Central Cambria High

Our Central Cambria High



 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 

–John Mason



24 comments on “Nothing Lasts

  1. So many memories, dreams fulfill, lifetime friendships and all forever etched into our hearts and minds. Thank you for all of that and I’ll remember you until I too fall.

  2. I have passed the school often as it was coming down but it really hit me when I read the words to the Alma Mater. Had four great years there.

  3. It hit me hard when I learned (in 2014) of my Alma Mater being demolished. The picture of the entrance to Ebensburg Cambria High School brings wonderful memories of my four years there. Rita

  4. 4 years out of so many lives were spent in that building – – – so it soon will be gone, but the memories and friendships created there will live on.

  5. Janet Soon there will be an empty lot where our alma mater once stood, however there will always be a special place in our hearts of wonderful memories made there,.

  6. Thank you for the memories. Sad to see her go, but I guess progress is good for some. Won’t be the same to come back to see an empty lot. I am happy I was able to bring my children to Ebensburg several years ago and show them my alma mater.

  7. Thank you for such a wonderful tribute to our ECHS. Such wonderful memories will remain with us forever. I ‘m sad to see such a great building fall!

  8. So many things seem like they will last for ever, but they only last in our minds. ECHS is one of them. As one of the last to graduate from ECHS (class of 1956), I too will not last for ever. Memories are all we have. I hope the new use of this location will be as important to future generations as it has been to me.

  9. Thanks for this wonderful tribute to ECHS. Although the building and its foundation may be gone, four formative years there provided a foundation for a lifetime.

  10. great tribute to a wonderful school-on the 60th anniversary of my graduating from ECHS–go red devils carl johnson class of ’54

  11. Hello, Judy Ball sent me the link to this posting – I went to CCMS and am a proud CCHS graduate from 1985. I have been taking photographs of the school months before the demolition at various times of the day and also of the demolition. If you are interested in providing photographs or this story for archiving, please let me know. Head Librarian at the Ebensburg Library, Mary Kelly Makin and I are going to create a digital database of photographs and stories about the school for the library and the Historical Society. You are welcome to email me –

    Thank you for your story and photographs. This school means very much to me and its history is timeless. As a historian, its architecture is priceless.

    • Hi Julie! I am not a historian but I love history and I remember you ! I wrote this because it was just a story that needed to be told and shared. If you ever want to write a blog about it, let me know and I can post it on here ! Esther

  12. Looking at the pics of the school being torn down have been hard I have gone up walked around looked and thought about all the memories there I went to school there when it was the middle school my kids went through that school I remember when my daughter slipped on the steps there and broke her ankle and the good memories and friends we made there will be with me forever its a shame they were left with no choice but to tear it down this was such a historic building with many fond memories for almost everyone in Ebensburg it will be missed good bye old friend

  13. Eddie Emanuel class of 56′
    AH!!! The memories: We all remember our homerooms, I was in 212 where the day started with a passage from the bible and then the pledge allegiance to the flag. Then the buzzer rang and off we went to classes, with the clang of the opening and closing of lockers. The hub bub of us rushing to our classes. We went back to walk the halls of old ECHS on our 45th reunion and boy did everything shrink. The auditorium looked no bigger than the gym, which was never thought to be to big. But in my memories I could here the noise of classmates, see their faces, teachers, the TV in the auditorium during the World Series, the dances in the gym after the games, so many flash backs. All is embedded in ones mind never to be forgotten over time.
    A little history, my Mother graduated in 1929 the first year of ECHS and I was in the last graduating class. Progress moves on, but it leaves a mark on the heart.

  14. Class of ’72…last high school class to graduate…wow..the memories are too many to remember but room 212, my homeroom for 4 years with Mr Dill was a safe place to be…I especially remember Pat DeRubis and the way Mr Dill picked on him almost every day in a caring way…fell in love for the first time in that building…the locker room was a daily place for me all those years sharing many memories with teammates and trying to avoid the coaches snapping towels at us, etc…now there is nothing on that sacred piece of land but memories ……CCHS Red Devils!,,…

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