How many people do you know can honestly say that they attended a two-room school house?
Most would probably answer that their grandparent did. Maybe even a parent. Thirty-year-olds like me probably don’t even come to mind. But that little, red schoolhouse in the picture really was my elementary school. That was Eureka Elementary.
It had two classrooms for two teachers and six grades, a hallway that doubled as a library, and a basement that served as our lunchroom/gym when the weather got bad. Grades 1 through 3 were in the room facing east while grades 4 through 6 were in the southern room. There were no lockers; just hooks to hang our coats and lunch bags on (since our books and pencils were stored in our desks, there really wasn’t a need for backpacks).
Outside, there was a playground with a slide and merry-go-round and a row of swings. We’d play kickball and soccer and basketball, jump rope, and run around like hooligans during our two, daily recesses. Every spring, we’d have our own Olympics competitions and a graduation ceremony. Every winter, we’d put on a holiday concert.
Doesn’t sound too bad, huh?
You couldn’t be more wrong.
Okay, I admit, the first year wasn’t too horrible. But every year after that was pure torment.
My second year was when the nightmare started. A new teacher had replaced my favorite Mrs S. from the year before. The new Mrs G. was an abusive bitch who apparently loathed children. And I was one of her favorite students to torture. I began to hate school so much that I’d beg to stay home. It was during this time period when my family and I first learned that I was suffering from severe depression. The meds helped level my mood, but they did nothing to stop the verbal assaults or degrading treatment.
Writing started as a means of escape during an assignment for my spelling class. We had to write a story for something — I don’t really remember what anymore. At the time, I was really into the tv show called Gargoyles, so I wrote a fanfiction about my favorite character, Brooklyn. I learned that I loved putting characters in situations I actually had full control over (unlike my daily life back then). That was the first time I ended up getting in trouble for writing too much. The teacher (I forgot her name, but it wasn’t Mrs G) didn’t want to read 10+ pages of hand-written scribbles by an eight-year-old.
But it was that very first fanfic that got me started on my dream career. During my later years in school, when I started what would become Dragon Diaries, every Wednesday was reading day. It was a fifteen-minute period at the start of each class when students were required to read. I wouldn’t read; I’d write. And I’d get in trouble for that, too.
Now, twenty-two years later, I’m still writing. While I may have moved away from fanfiction, I still get myself in trouble for writing too much. I can’t help it; I just get so wound up in the adventures that I lose track of time and forget to do something that really needed to get done. That’s okay, because now, I’m learning from one of the best in the industry, and may even have a chance to co-author with him.
So… Yeah. My start in writing came from wanting to escape. It’s still an escape these days, but it’s more of a vacation now. That is, provided I can stop procrastinating on getting things done. I admit, I’m a horrible procrastinator, and that gets me in trouble almost as much as my writing.
But since I mentioned fanfiction, I have a confession. The AEON Files actually started out as a Yu Yu Hakusho and Sailor Moon crossover fanfic. The lead character wasn’t Jinx, it was an alien named Kuurin Traea, who was injected with a demon seed and exiled off her planet. It sucked.
During my final years at Eureka, my then psychologist, Dr Grogan, wrote up a letter on Mrs. G and all the nasty stuff she did, which went into her permanent file. From what I had heard after moving on to Ramstad Middle School, she was no longer allowed to teach, not that it stopped her from stalking me for the next few years. I finally escaped her in 9th grade, when I moved on to Central Campus. I never recovered from what she did to me. I got better, sure, but I didn’t heal.
Eureka Elementary closed in 2014, but the building still stands — a painful reminder of the torments that went on behind those doors.