Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Memories of E Street: Gibbs Elementary

(Gibbs Elementary front school yard)

I was in my old neighborhood this weekend when I passed by my old school, Gibbs Elementary. The memories. I looked over at the school as I always do as I passed it, but this time I pulled over. It was just after the rain and the little playground was glistening with puddles of water on the asphalt. No, there was no foam rubber to protect our little heads/shoulders/knees/toes and apparently there still isn’t. I stood on that playground and briefly went back to my first days of kindergarten. Gibbs was only right down the street from the apartment that we lived on E Street in Northeast DC. I even remember where my classroom was. It was 1972 and My Amanita got little Stevie dressed and ready for school.

(The entrance to my kindergarten classroom at Gibbs)

I don’t remember my teachers name, but I recall the classroom in some details. I remember the round tables, the coat racks and the location of the restroom. I remember going on field trips. I remember that we all had to hold hands. We had assigned partners for whenever we left the classroom. I remember holding hands with one little girl and rebelled at having to do so. I would retaliate by squeezing her little hands until she would cry in protest to the teacher. The teacher would scold me and tell me to behave. I would do it again and again until the teacher would threaten to spank me (Yes, they could paddle you back then). Thinking back, I wish that I could talk to that little girl so that I could ask her if she remembers me. I even wonder why I remember? Anyway, I would apologize for little Stevie's boyish and aggressive way of just saying, I like you. Will you be my friend? The memories. **smile**


NML/Natalie said...

Hilarious! She probably hasn't held hands with boys in adulthood ;-) That is so cute though! I can just imagine you. The boy who loved to pee his pants always wanted to hold my hand....

Stephen A. Bess said...

LOL!!! :)That's funny. The little pissy boy wanted to hold your hand. That's funny! I really wonder if she remembers? There are certain things that stay in our minds. That's why I'm wondering why I remember that situation? Go figure.

Dance_Soul said...

HAHA. Lil Stevie was a lil PIMP. Funny. I remember EVERYTHING about each teacher, each classtoom, each friend, and each FOE. THE TRAUMA, THE TRAUMA!!!!

Toastedsuzy said...

I used to hate it when whatever dumb boy was holding my hand playing Red Rover would use both our hands to wipe his nose. What the HECK was up with that?

I was too polite to say anything, though.

I wish I'd have thought of your hard hand squeezing technique!

I bet you were SO CUTE!


Anonymous said...

Memories. What would we do without them? Where would we be? I'm always amazed at how a certain smell, a sound, or a déjà vu experience can "bring it all back." They are moments I appreciate.

But actually going back to the place must be even nicer...

Bougie Black Boy said...

First, LOVE the new pic! rockin' the glasses I see...

As per the school, great write-up. I had the opportunity to visit my old school a few weeks ago on book tour. It was just familiarly odd, but refreshing--like a part of my past that really never existed.

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

Do you think you've scarred her for life? hee hee

Lots of school yards here don't have asphalt, they have sand...makes sense to me.

Stephen A. Bess said...

There is instant nostalgia everytime I go around there. I decided to get out of the car and walk over this time. :) Thanks.

lol! I know. I was so mean to that little girl. I still remember her slender little fingers and the sad look in her eyes. Wow! You're better than me with the memory, but wait...that was only a few years ago for you. LOL! :)

LOL! Kids and their noses. I taught little ones for a minute down in Georgia. The first thing that some of them would do in the morning is run their hands across their soggy noses and then reach for me. ARG!!! :) They were so cute though. Me? I was a big head, wide eyed little boy. My body finally caught up with my head. :)

It's always great to revist the past. My worst memories are torn down. They were the projects that we lived in for 8 years of my life. The rest are pleasant.
ke a leboha, ntate. :)

Thanks, Stephen! Yeah, I broke down and got some new frames since I saw you in B'more. I can see clearly now... :)
The past does seem distant and strange, but it makes for good writing material, huh? I know you know. *wink*

I may have scarred the poor girl. :)See, sand makes so much sense. There are places here that have sand, but the old school yards in the city are still concrete/asphalt. We are always cracking our heads. That's why some of us are half crazy! :)

Dance_Soul said...

HAHA. A few years ago? Cute.
At least you all had asphalt - we had GRAVEL!!!! We ALL have scars to prove it. Try slidin on that mess. :(

Stephen A. Bess said...

Gravel!!! Where did you grow up, Bedrock? :)

Cergie said...

Stevie !!!
Memory is alive for you, nd you are lucky to be able to pass by your ancient school.
Not the case for me.
I'm fzr from ALL the schools were I went when kid !

Dance_Soul said...

D-E-T-R-O-I-T - EAST SIDE!!!!!! We didn't have swings, slides, moneky bars, or anything children should have. WE HAD A BIG AZZ GRAVEL LOT enclosed by gates. Then we bought a new school and they built a playscape for the little ones while we had access to a grassy field (a real step up). Marcus Garvey Academy is in our old school with the GRAVEL lot.

Stephen A. Bess said...

I feel blessed to have those memories. They help to weave wonderful tales. :)

Just as I said, Bedrock! :)I need to visit Detroit one day. I've never been. I was in the Navy with a lot of dudes from Detroit. They didn't like me. :)
They told me that I thought I was cool. Guys from Chicago and Gary, Indiana were cool with me though.

Gooders Girl said...


Boys used to pull my hair until my scalp was sore! It would have been easier if they said I like you....may be they didn't.

I will never know and even if they did I would never forgive them.

It bloody hurt!

Stephen A. Bess said...

I know. This little girl probably never forgave me too. She probably gets mad everytime she sees a little boy with a big ol' nappy head. :)

Anonymous said...

I see that you and I both are redecorating!

Dance_Soul said...

Thats funny cause Chi-town and Gary Indiana are sooooo close that most people have family in both places. There is a lot of rivalry between Chi and the D - so I can imagine if the guys from Chicago liked you the guys from Detroit would say that they didn't. You mos def need to check out Detroit - we've had a black mayor since the 70's - its definitely one of the BLACKEST cities out there.

Anonymous said...

What inspired the redecoration? (It seems to be in fashion ... everyone is doing it) ;-)

Anonymous said...

The little boy I sat in front of in Kindergarden used to pinch me. I guess the term "pinch" sounds to cute, what he did was grab a hunk of my back and twist until I threw up. My dad beat me on a weekly basis and I was always warned that if I got in trouble at school he would beat me. So, I never said anything to the teacher because I was afraid she, Miss Bates (I remember her name), would call my Dad and he would beat me for getting in trouble with the teacher. So for the entire year David would torture me on a daily basis until I was sick. Yeah, I bet the little girl remembers you, I remember David and that was 52 years ago.

Uaridi said...

Hey, like the new look!!!!

Sorry I have not been by for a while - life got rather hectic.

You sent me back oh so many years ago - and brought back so many memories, some not so good. The best was my fav. teacher who punished and praise fairly.

Stephen A. Bess said...

I got the idea from you. I wanted to brighten up the place. :)

Planning a trip to the Motor City. :)

Urban Butterfly gave me the idea. :)

Luckily, the teacher paired me with someone else when she saw that the little girl wasn't happy. I think that I remember that situation because I never intended to hurt her. I can't imagine making her vomit. I think that I would've been more traumatized. I'm sorry that you had to go through that at school and home. Take care. Blessings~

It's good to see you! I hope that things are not still hectic. Meanwhile, I'm glad that I can offer pleasant memories of school. :)

Anonymous said...

lol! Wow, how cool!! Well, like I said, its a nice change!! =)

Kimberley said...

Memory lane... I came by your blog by the way of "reflex" Im so glad that I did. Great work and words. I will continue to check back .

Stephen A. Bess said...

Thanks C!

Welcome. I checked by your blog too. I'll also have to look at your poetry. By the way, I noticed that you are in North Carolina. I'm originally from DC, but I graduated high school in NC.

to touch a unicorn said...

Isn't it fun looking back to those first school days ~ scuffed knees, a bottle of milk at "playtime" and yes, holding hands and walking two-by-two.
Lovely post Stephen, you brought my memories back too. :-)

Rose said...

It's good to see old places and things that reminds you of your childhood. What memories it brings...

Stephen A. Bess said...

It was fun writing this. Thanks!

Yes, it's one of the few places still standing that reminds me of my childhood. The city is changing constantly and rapidly.

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