This week, I posed this assignment to my siblings:
In light of the collapse of Silver King School, let’s share a story involving Silver King School.
Of the three siblings, I was never a student at Silver King School. But I do remember times of being in the building throughout my growing up years.
These memories come in little snippets...I remember little things about Silver King.
Mom would go out to work in her room on the weekends, and I would go out with her. Her room was the last room on the south end of the school, on the west side. There was a coat room outside the room, and the room had lots of windows.
But I didn't spend a lot of time in her room. I spent time walking around the building exploring and playing.
Some time was spent in the gym. To get to the gym, you walked down the hallway, and made a right turn past the teacher's lounge, and went down a ramp. The ramp had carpet down the middle, but the edges had linoleum on them. Once in the gym, I could take out balls, and jumpropes and climb the rope that hung from the ceiling. But I didn't know how to turn the light on in the gym, so I remember it could get a little creepy down there if the light wasn't good.
Sometimes Mom would have to go up into the attic, which had turned from the school lunch room to a storage room. I'm not sure what she stored up there, perhaps an aquarium for a new batch of fish in her room, or a large box she used each Valentine's Day as a post office to distribute valentines.
Another room I would go to sometimes to help Mom out with work was the teacher work room. This was a small room filled with cabinets of paper, and the ditto machine. Before copy machines, teachers typed their lessons on on a purple form that was then put on a ditto machine and a handle was turned and purple inked copies came out. An important element to the whole process was the ditto fluid, which had a very distinctive smell. I often got to use the ditto machine to help Mom make copies.
Sometimes I would wander through the small library at the school and look for books to read.
Once a year, the Silver King PTA would have a chili feed to raise money for the school. I remember attending many of those dinners in the cafeteria at Silver King School.
I remember also being involved in another Silver King PTA fund-raiser, but this time it was during the summer at a celebration in Smelterville called Frontier Days. Smelterville used to have Ferd Stadium, located kind of east of where Walmart is now. Once a year, Smelterville would celebrate Frontier Days, with a carnival, parade and rodeo and demolition derby. And lots of drinking. One year I remember the PTA had a booth under the grandstands of Ferd Stadium during either a rodeo or demolition derby, and sold corn dogs. I remember helping sell for a few hours during the alloted time Mom signed up to help at the booth.
Every year, like other schools in the district, Silver King School would have a Christmas program in the gym. One year I got to go and help Mrs. Williams, the music teacher, turn pages on the music. When I got to junior high, and joined many of those students who had been a part of that Christmas program, they remembered me being there to help at the Christmas program. I'm thinking I was in fourth or fifth grade that year.
My final memories of Silver King School, are not ones I am particularly proud of. The summer after I graduated from high school, I was employed by the Kellogg School District as on of the cleaning crew. Back when the school district had money, they would hire students in the summer to help the custodians clean the different schools, and do other jobs around the district like painting or other kinds of custodial duties.
During the summer of 1981, there was a possibility that Silver King School was going to be closed, so a crew was need to go and clean the building that summer.
There were a few flaws in the whole set up of the working arrangment that summer.
The first was our hours we worked changed that summer. Instead of working 7:30-3:30 five days a week, our hours were changed from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., four days a week. So I would get picked up around 5:45 a.m. each morning to go to work, which was going to Silver King School.
Unfortunately, we had no adult supervision at Silver King School. Because either the school had already been closed, or was going to be closed, so there wasn't a regular custodial crew at the school. So the powers that be at the school district decided to have one of the kids in charge of a crew of four other student workers. This was not a great idea.
So, because we had no real supervision, we would arrive at work, haul out the cots from the nurses office, and sleep until about 7 a.m. I really don't remember doing a lot of work out there. Maybe we just cleaned the floors or something. I do remember two of my fellow workers going out in the parking lot in a car at lunch time and smoking pot. Again, this was easy to do because of the lack of supervision. And Silver King was set up in such a way with a hugh window in the front that you could have someone on lookout watching for the special school district brown truck to come up the road, and when someone yelled "Brown's On", you knew you had better get to work.
I don't think we were at the school for very long that summer. One thing that sticks out in my mind is drinking Constant Comment tea that was in the faculty lounge. Everytime I see or smell that orangy smelling tea, I think of Silver King School.
Smells always seem to invoke vivid memories for me.
But now the smells are gone. The building has collapsed. I'm not sure the fate of the school, but I'm sure it isn't good. And now there are only the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of Silver King that linger in our minds.