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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Constant State of Change

Constant State of Change

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by: Mark Magnan, Guest Columnist

I was at a business the other day, and across the street was a school. While I was in the parking lot the bell rang and out of the doors poured a file of tiny students. I was watching the, probably, first graders head out onto the playground without a care in the world. I thought about how I was once one of those children. My how perspectives can change. Now as a young boy in Texas, school was not my first choice of how to spend my days. I never really had the traumatic event of a “first day” of school. For as long as I can remember I was in a day care center, one operated by a family friend. It was mostly just a place where I was supervised but still allowed outside. Being outside was about the only thing on a young boy’s mind, well that and supper at some point. When the day came that I was remanded to a real school I was only thinking about getting outside, much like the kids that I had witnessed this past week. Then I was just looking forward that final bell of the day so I could go home and be outside even more. In those days there was not a lot to keep a boy inside, no video games, at news time all three or four television channels were broadcasting news, about the only draw would be food. We didn’t really care for winter as it confined us to being indoors. We did have toys that would amuse us inside, even though they often went outside with us. Luckily Texas winters were not that bad, a few cold days, a few rainy days, and then the super wonderful days when we had snow! Now snow days were a dream come true for us, school was closed and we had yet another adventure waiting outside for us.

However after a few years of school I would often get outside during the day and watch the people walk or drive by. They were free, unlike me, stuck inside the towering “prison” walls. I remember one school, it was a huge old stone building at one end of an enormous fenced in area. People at the far end of the school yard seemed like tiny dots, it took almost an entire class period to walk the perimeter of the complex. I went back just a couple of years ago, the old school building was gone and a new one in its place, the school yard was no where near as large as I remember. Perhaps the school sold some of the land, or maybe things just seemed much larger to me then. In those days I wanted to be outside, I wanted to be grown up and free, not having to face time in the classroom learning and keeping me occupied. I couldn’t wait until I was an adult and could drive by a school and have pity on the poor children detained and subjected to the misery of having to learn. Now learning to me was not so bad, I enjoyed it, perhaps it was just the lack of freedom that I had to deal with on a daily basis. As I grew with my schooling I learned how to learn, and I was a bit more patient. I enjoyed learning, actually excelling in many classes. Deep down the craving or desire to be outside was still present. There were so many things that were a part of my early years that created the memories of my youth. The fantasy of the TV shows we wanted to live, the new adventures we found, and perhaps even learning new things outdoors that would never be taught in a stuffy school room.

So seeing those kids the other day brought me around to the days when I was on the other side of the fence. I wanted to be out looking in, and now I was. In a way I wished I was one of those kids without a care in the world, only looking forward to the next thirty minutes of semi-freedom. I guess I am happy now with my life. There are jobs that I see that I wish I could have, different houses, maybe even fancier cars. I probably wouldn’t want to live through my school life again. I suppose that my adult self is looking back at my child self all those years ago and just giving me a sign that it will all work out. Hang in there, enjoy school and youth, and one day being outside the “walls” will be your normal life. And honestly it really is better out here. However, I would like to hit the playground equipment again, just for the heck of it, I wonder if they would let have a recess class once more.

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