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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Step(s) (11/29/12)

TITLE: Tied By A Brass Bell
By darlene thompson


I entered my old elementary school,

the step squeaked beneath my weight.

As I opened the door, I felt like I

had just entered a time capsule. I

saw the rope hanging from the bell

tower and the brass bell still

intact. As small children, we

delighted when a teacher allowed us to

ring the bell for recess.

The school had only four

classrooms, a large upstairs area for

a cafeteria and auditorium. When

I opened the door to the seventh and

eighth grade room, Washington and

Lincoln starred back at

me. The American flag stood in the

corner. We began every morning with

the Pledge of Allegiance. As I ambled

around the room, the wooden desks sat

with their empty ink wells and storage

racks. We carried our books in our

arms and not in the fancy back packs

of today.

The blackboard was covered in

dust. Chalk and erasers remained in

the racks. If I listen carefully, I

could still hear the sound of clapping

erasers against the large boulder

outside and see white dust particles

fill the air. The rooms were divided

into first and second grade, third and

fourth,fifth and sixth and seventh and

eight. There was only four teachers.

The seventh and eighth grade teacher

was also the principal. These four

teachers were with me all through my

elementary years.

In these walls, I learned my

ABC’s, reading, spelling, writing,

arithmetic, history, geography, health,

science, and social studies. I

memorized the first paragraph of the

Declaration of Independence,

Preamble to the Constitution, state

capitals, and numerous lines of poetry.

The old cafeteria brought back

memories of hiding peas in our

pockets, under the table, or pawning

them off on someone that really did

like them. We always said grace

before our meals and no one thought we

were rude or inconsiderate.

The auditorium echoed in

remembrances of Christmas and Easter

pageants, numerous music trials and

plays. I caught a glimpse of our

eighth grade graduation class

in old stained photograph on the

The wooden fire escape remains

and creaks with every step. Behind

the school is an open space where we

played tag, dodge ball, and skipped

rope. The old soft ball field shows

patches of a white line between first

and second base. Sneakers footprints

remain in the dust. The volley ball

court has one remaining post with a

piece of net attached. It hangs like

a trophy where we took down

our dreaded opponent in the


As the wind whispers around the

school yard with past voices of happy

children learning and having fun, I

realize my educational roots are still

entwined in a four room school with a

brass bell.

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This article has been read 248 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sandra Wells12/09/12
What wonderful memories. A time when the flag was honored, God respected, We didn't apologize for celebrating the Seasons of the Lord. A time when children played together, learned together, grew together. Thank you for sharing your memories
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/11/12
This is a sweet story that took me back to a simpler time. I could see the chalk dust and almost smell it too.

I noticed you started in the past tense and then here: If I listen you slipped to the presence. Try to keep the tense consistent.

Your story brought a smile to my heart and I really enjoyed going on this journey with you as my guide. You have a knack for storytelling.
C D Swanson 12/11/12
I smiled reading this...I recalled with vivid detail my own youth. Like Shann, I too could smell the chalk.

I was a school monitor, and had several tasks to do. I relived them through this piece. Great piece of writing.

God bless~