Friday, February 17, 2012

Play Equipment

As I've worked on this schoolhouse project I've been amazed at the individuals who have stepped up and shared stories with me. Last fall, quite by accident, I met the man who purchased the play equipment when the school closed. It was in his backyard, well used through the years of his children and grandchildren. Would I like to see it?

Would I ever!

My husband and I ventured to his house a couple of weeks ago, camera in my hand, fully intending to take pictures to use in the book. I was underwhelmed, if there is such a word. I don't know what I expected, but this is what I got:
It was sort of sad, sitting there neglected at the edge of the woods in his back yard. His children have grown and don't want it any more. Their children have grown and the newest generation has much more exciting equipment to occupy their time and energy.

But oh, the memories I've heard about that one little merry-go-round. About girls tucking in their skirts so they wouldn't fly up while they spun around. About pushing and jumping on and going in circles. About wasting time in the mornings watching the buses arrive.

I have found one photo that gives life to this merry-go-round.

Yes, proof of happiness.

This picture was taken the last year of the school's existence, 1972-73. These two students represented Mr. Leonard's homeroom in the junior high homecoming court back when the seventh and eighth graders were considered minature high schoolers... "junior" high schoolers to be more exact. They copied high school activities, even the homecoming concept of queen and court.

Junior highs have faded away now, replaced by the more appropriate middle school structure that recognizes this age group as more than a younger version of the teenage experience. But for those students who came through Pilot Mountain School the three years it was a junior high, this pre-teen experience was a joy to remember. I have seen this joy in their faces. I have heard it in the stories I collected.

And I pass it along to you.

Catch of the day,



  1. That is touching in way. I am personally connected to old fashioned play equipment. I'm not quite sure why, but all I know is I love it. I'm still a teenager but I have a swing set in my backyard my father built for me and I try my hardest to swing on it at least once a day before I have to pack up and leave it behind.

  2. Hi Laney, thanks for your note about the play equipment. As I was collecting stories about this school, many people talked about the merry go round. When I finally saw it, I was amazed that something this simple could make such an impression on people. Decades later they still have vivid memories of playing on it. I'm sure the same will be for you and the swing set.