Monday, July 7, 2008

Where's Peter Pan when we need him?

Did anybody notice how old we’re getting? And we’re not even that old? Yet, somehow, much of the world that I knew as a five year old is hardly recognizable to my five year old.

Today they will demolish Grandview Elementary school. For all I know, they already have. Granted, Grandview was hardly my favorite educational institution. Truth is, it’s hard to find a lot of fondness in my heart for the edifice at all, beyond what it represents to those of us who plodded its musty halls. Mine was a brief sojourn-- a single year in Mr. Wiscomb’s fourth grade class. But I do sense a loss in its demolition.

When I was at Grandview, Mikey Padeken was a squirrelly youth with an energy like a rubber ball. We met against an orange brick wall, finding ourselves on the same team of a game that married handball and dodge ball. Mikey was freaking brilliant at the sport, and I was lucky to be on his team. Kevin Brimhall was in Mikey’s class down the hall. Kevin lived across the street from me and was always confused as to why I didn’t go to Grandview. I had expected that when I finally did make my public school debut, Kevin and I would be inseparable. That didn’t pan out. I needed to establish a little more clout before Kevin could donate his valuable attention to me and my band of ragamuffin hand ballers. Kathy Jones used to wear leopard print stretch pants, and once she wrote me a longish note confessing her unabashed love for me. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I acted like I never got it. Steve Walters was a very nice, very chubby boy in my little sister’s class. He used to talk to her a lot, and I wasn’t sure if that bugged me. But I don’t think he was a threat. Nick Reineer, Ryan Duncan and Zack Elison became my gang of friends when I finally settled in-- does that make any sense?. After some time, I managed to wrestle the affections of Camille Porter from Tim Law (of the very big head). I proved to be valuable on the soccer field and a blooming genius at kickball, so my place on the playground was never challenged. We never had communist day, I delighted in my shifts in the lunchroom, and I sang a solo in the fourth grade program in May. The song I Like You in said program was held in whispers to be about me and Camille. The thought of it still makes me blush.

And did anyone notice when they started plowing under all the orchards? And the fields where we used to ride our dirt bikes? Remember when they cut a road through the Burningham’s pasture, connecting Ryan Smith’s street with Holmes’ street? Remember how new and black that asphalt was? And when they built the Taylor’s and the Bills’ and the Ridd’s houses how bloody huge they were? We called that cul de sac “Celestial Circle”. Remember how we all moved away but our parents are still there? Remember how Kirk lives where all those orchards used to be?

Remember how Sarah Carter and Lori Hurley are already gone? Does anyone remember what a happy child Allen Taylor was?

I don’t feel like any of us are old enough to say things like, “when I was a kid, this all used to be farm land. I used to ride my big wheel where that house is.” Yet, most of us are. And there have been whole families born and raised in those houses. People who never knew the land as anything different. They don’t know what they took from us.

Our kids will never know us as those kids. It will be quite a while before they want to know what we did and where we did it. I will always be Dad to my little ones. But when will I be Jed Wells, who took a sabbatical leave from private school to attend Grandview elementary for a year, and hated cub scouts, and never played little league, and caught snakes in Lions Park, and spent whole afternoons walking to Minute Man because his mom wouldn’t let him ride his bike off the hill?


  1. Whoa... so nostalgic.

    I don't know if the orchards behind Westridge are the same orchards you're referring to, but it blew my mind when I came home from my mission and there were ginormous homes there. They'd probably plowed and developed it a bit before I left but I didn't notice until after and it was one of the many things that BLEW my mind when I came home.

    Grandview was Westridge's crosstown rival, sort of. I remember feeling like we were competitive although we didn't...compete in anything, and everyone from Grandview became our brothers and friends at PHS.

    My lone time entering Grandview was at this past years presidential caucasses. Being one of the few registered democrats I thought I'd breeze into the building, cast my vote and begone. Little did I count on having to wait in line with the hundreds of Republicans ready and eager to show their support for Romney. I ended up not walking out without voting. First and last time in the building.

  2. Tony,
    He's talking about the pasture that sits between the former Grandview site (approximately) and the Grandview South Stake other church (don't remember the street name, but it's the non-Stake Center). I wasn't up on my knowledge of that area, even though it was my ward - I just assumed that it was there for a while. When they took out the orchards behind Westridge (where I guess Kirk lives, but I didn't know that), that was mental. Same with the orchards over on the side of the hill.
    The crazy thing (or perhaps not so crazy) is that Camille went full circle from Tim Law to Jed to others back to the Laws (although it was Garrett Law this go-around).
    I was surprised about Sarah Carter and I do remember Alan Taylor in his better years, and that seems like so long ago. I didn't know about Lori Hurley though...that's too bad. It's crazy to hear about people from your class dying, unless your class was 1945.
    The funny thing about "back in my day" comments is that I make them all the time to my wife - "back in my day, they had a Reams here in a converted ice skating rink" or "back in my day Orem Center Street seemed like it was the edge of civilization, and here it is with 3 grocery stores, a Savers, and more restaurants than you can shake a stick at."
    It's absolutely crazy how much things change when you think about it for a minute.

  3. yeah, I totally agree. we shouldn't feel old, but we are in a lot of ways. things are so different. especially when you live somewhere else and just come back periodically. i almost don't recognize utah county anymore.
    we lost all our old bike trails and all the wilderness down in west provo too. all except my parents yard, it's still there.
    and i didnt know about lori hurley and sarah cater. it is too weird to hear about things like that. and sad.

    you almost made me cry....

  4. You know looking back at it, some of my fondest memories came from the soccer fields at Grandview. I remember spring breaks and summer vacations of endless soccer games on the small field by the kindergarten classrooms. Games where Cardoso was nowhere to be found and we could just have fun. I guess those were the good old days. Soccer until it was too hot and then off to the Rope Swing down by the lake (Which isn't there anymore and there are houses within spitting distance of the river). I remember trying to build a dam to raise the level of the water so kirk could actually jump in without the threat of premature knee problems. Yea it is crazy the things we remember. Thanks for the article Fratello

  5. Thanks Jed! No time to really comment right now--I have miles to go before I sleep on this dissertation--but I am always a sucker for nostalgia. I sure miss Allen Taylor.

  6. I am completely embarassed, but I don't remember the sweat pants.

    I knew they were tearing down my school, but had successfully blocked it from memory. I had dreams of moving into my parents house and my kids could go to the same school I did, I would walk the halls with them and say "this was mom's kindergarten class too" Now the reality has set in that I will only be able to drive by and say "This is where mom's elementary school used to be."

  7. Cathy--don't you still wear leopard print stretch pants?