Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Closing..in 1973

A friend of mine caught up with me this past Sunday at church and said she was so very sad. I asked her why, of course.

"The school is closing," she answered. "Pilot Mountain School," she continued when she saw the question in my face.

"What?" I had not heard this news. Surely after all this hard work and loving devotion to the building, Tom Brittain was not closing the school.

Then she smiled. "In the book. That's where I am in reading your book. Pilot Mountain is closing and I'm so sad and I didn't even go to school there."

Oh the power of the pen, to make a person feel, to create sympathy in others, empathy for people in situations beyond their own sphere of reality. I can see why she had a hard time reading it without an element of sadness creeping in. I had a hard time writing it. My feelings were conflicted about its closing, and I too, didn't even go there. Thing of it is, the community wasn't sad at the time. This school had served them well, but its time was over and in 1973 these parents were looking forward to the opportunities school consolidation offered their children. Closing was necessary. The sadness came years later, with the reality of what they had lost.

I know exactly where she was in the book. Chapter 11 - The Junior High Years, The School Closes, the chapter that ends with a quote by Freddie Setzer:

We just walked out the door, kind of like a Mary Tyler Moore experience. Turned out the lights and left.


Click on this to check out the final scene of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, their sad farewell, their group hug, and at the very, very end, Mary turning out the lights. Watch it, absorb it, then think Pilot Mountain School. 1973. Closing.

Catch of the day,


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