First off...

I dedicate this article to a former classmate/bully that I had in school. It seems he had a hard life, but may he Rest In Peace....



Okay...he wasn't THAT old...but the thing is that it's dedicated to him. I feel like that movie from 1983 starring Jeff Goldblum and Glenn Close, you know..."The Big Chill"?



Yeah...but even before I saw him...I would be in another school in Kindergarten! Remember the School Days?...



School Days, School Days, Every Golden Rule Days. RWA (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic). The 1st School that I went to was named Alexander Graham Bell in Cleveland, named after the inventor of the telephone.



The day would start with riding on the bus, the driver would pick-up other students, but I remember going-down where the Steelyard Commons is now, the city's Post Office, and where Luna Park used to be.



Then the day would start-out with Bellwork, where I would color a coloring book and I actually colored a full coloring book back then! Alexander Graham Bell was one of the few city schools to have a Multi-Handicapped Class back then (since I had autism, I was informed to be in a Special Education Class until the 3rd Grade). There were three teachers who occupied the class, and we would break-up in groups for reading, writing, and arithmetic. The activities that we did was drawing what we did on our weekends, though I drew about He-Man a lot....



We would also cut-out pictures of balloons of different colors, make pictures out of melted crayons from hot tin-foil, and make things out of clay. Then there was lunch time, I usually had a bagged lunch until the 4th Grade since I was on a Golden-Rule Diet then (Only Natural Colors/Flavors, No Pork, or No Legumes) After lunch came Quiet Time where we would nap then after an hour, two of the lunch ladies would come and visit out Homeroom and I would use the heart-shaped cookie-cutters that said "Be Mine" and "Hi Cutie"...the latter was my fave. There was also computer time where we would play games on Apple II Computers and Occupational Therapy where there was a Jungle Gym and a slide where I would play around. Then before the journey home, we would have snack time. There was punch, but due to my food allergies...I had water with my snack. After that, it was back home, but I was on a bus with different students than the ones I was with in the morning and it was the students I went to school with. I didn't remember much about the ride home unti I saw the Lorain/Carnegie Bridge....



Then I would see the Clark Avenue Family Dollar that had a Murial on it which was once the Cleveland Hispanic Culture Building. But I remember one Field Trip that we went down to the Higbees Building downtown, the same place where Horseshoe Casino is now and where they filmed "A Christmas Story"...



...But I never got to meet Santa Claus and didn't sit on his lap...but that Christmas of 1988 I did get the train I wanted and I saw a Legend of Cleveland's Christmas named Mr. Jingeling....



It almost sounds like Chuck Berry's #1 Hit song...you know what it is! Unfortunately...one teacher was on leave because she had a child, but we had a good substitute teacher by the time yet he looked like Michael Gross from "Family Ties"....



I only spent 4 months of my Kindergarten years at Alexander Graham Bell before I got transferred to Douglas MacArthur Elementary School where I spent my other half of Kindergarten and the 1st Three Grades of my schooling there. That too was a Multi-Handicapped Class and the school was named after the World War II Veteran named General Douglas MacArthur.



And it was built when this song came on the charts....



Pure Irony that BOTH had the name MacArthur...but as I said, it was a Multi-Handicapped Class that I went to and I was in Rooms 7 & 8 but went to Rooms 12 & 14 by the 1st Grade. Room 15 was our Occupational Therapy Room. We did Bell-work, I brought a Bag Lunch because of my diet, and there was a moment where we would see a film strip or record our voice as we saw a pic pass by. There was rewards...and consequences. If we would have NO 3 checks that month...we would get a prize in the prize box. I once got a "Wake-Rattle-and Roll" Night Light. Remember that show?



But...if you HAD 3 Checks by your name, there was a Black-Line and No Prize For You! This happened to me once...I felt like the 2007 New England Patriots since I fell-short that month! But what I hated the most from that school was the Fire Drill Days, there was no loud clang...it was a loud buzz which scared the crap out of me most of the time! But what was great at the school was...The Field Trips! We would go to Cleveland Hopkins Airport and sit in a real plane, though we didn't go anywhere, The West Side Market where we would get fresh fruit and go to the Wendy's right in front of the Church where I go to now, Then there was the museums we went to like the Natural History Museum, the Cleveland Health Museum, and the Children's Museum in University Circle. I also saw movies that we would go to like "Home Alone" and "Beauty and the Beast". After that...we would go to either McDonald's, Pizza Hut (When they HAD the old Huts, like this gem)...



I would have a sausage/green pepper pizza, but then there were times we went to Big Boy's and Denny's. Then came the 3rd Grade! It was different for me because I had REAL homework and I was sent to a Real 3rd Grade Class then by learning math and reading. This would make the transition to a new school. I would see Mary Bethune Elementary for my last Field Trip and a trip to Tower City Center for one last time...but by the 4th Grade...I would see a new school....

In 1992, when I was in the 4th Grade, I was in a new school which was closer to my home called St. Mark Lutheran (Now Luther Memorial School) but wow...I had some good (and bad) memories there...The 4th Grade Class there was at the 3rd Floor and I walked 40+ steps to my classroom. There was always Chapel Service on Wednesdays, Band Practice on Fridays (I used to play the trumpet/coronet), and a choir that I was involved in. Yes...I can sing, mostly now crooning songs or something like this....



There was also a WVIZ Show where there was science experiments and it had two fishes named Clyde and Cepheus. Then the 4th Grade Students would have story time with the 1st Grade Students for reading time. At the end of the day, there was extended care for children who had parents that worked from 9 to 5. The 5th Grade was better because it was on the 2nd Floor of the building and lunch was at 11 a.m. by this time. There was a dress code for us...I wore a buttoned-down shirt and dress pants, but that wasn't the pain, the biggest pain was...accelerated reader! This was a program that helped children remember what they read from a book and you need 6-10 points to pass, I was sent home because I didn't want to do this Accelerated Reader Crap (I still have problems with anger to this day)! Fortunately...I didn't get to do accelerated reader after the 5th Grade but I got to be in a school version of "The Wizard of OZ". I played Henry and the Emerald City Guards and it wasn't like the 1939 Movie, but we did get to sing "Over the Rainbow"....



I would also be involved with the school Track Team, usually I wound-up 5th Place at Best. But it was enjoyable. But Junior High would be more different since I would take classes with the 7th and 8th Graders, this was when the bullying began. But there was a time we would play hacky-sack while standing up on our chairs! There weren't many field trips when I was at St. Mark, but we would go to the Zoo where one of my classmates lost their shoe in the rhinoceros cage, we would go to the library, even the Main Branch of the Cleveland's Main Library Branch to see "Adventure's in Wonderland" (Anyone Remember That Show as Well)?...



In the 5th Grade, we went to Severance Hall and heard the Cleveland Orchestra Perform for us, then there was the time we went to camp for a week in Central Ohio and we made homemade Ice Cream, saw a turtle eat a crayfish, and clowns playing guitars like a violin...but it wasn't like what Jimmy Page would do!...



We would also go to the Toledo Zoo...that was a great zoo and the Tropical Rain Forest at the Cleveland Zoo, which had a hokey video. But by Junior High...I was the butt of my class one time I tried-out for the basketball team, but I got ridiculed and I didn't even play one game because of this! But I did get to see the Museums of University Circle (Art, Natural History, and Health) and the trip to Columbus, Ohio before they got a crappy hockey team. That was a fun trip, seeing the State Capitol, COSI, and even seeing the 1st Wendy's!



We never got to eat there, but we went to the Ohio National Museum as well as a Pizza Parlor, where the former classmate that died recently lip-synched to this song....



In the 8th Grade, I went to Washington DC and we flew there! That was my 1st Time on a plane, I was nervous but I made it. Many of the teachers and the principal were intrigued that I knew ever flag flying on the Embassies in Washington. We went to see the National Cathedral, Arlington National Cemetery, The Ford Theater, Some Museums of the Smithsonian, and even the National Capitol. I got to go to Washing D.C, This year and saw most of the Monuments and Memorials.



But by the next month...I would be confirmed and would graduate from Jr. High and go to Sr. High. There was a Confirmation Service, 1st Communion, a Banquet for the Graduates, and then a Graduation Ceremony. Then...I would go to High School, but I was Home-Schooled throughout those years. I made a vow I wouldn't go there until Cleveland wins a Championship, but I did return to my old school three years ago when it did become Luther Memorial School. I'm hoping to visit there again and if I ever have a child...I hope to have him enrolled to my Alma Mater, but as of now...I'll play this anthem....