An old man's thought of School;
An old man, gathering youthful memories and blooms,
that youth itself cannot.
Now only do I know you!
O fair auroral skies! O morning dew upon the grass!
And these I see, these sparkling eyes,
These stores of mystic meaning, these young lives,
Building, equipping, like a fleet of ships, immortal ships!
Soon to sail out over the measureless seas,
         .  .  .
On the Soul's voyage,
Only a lot of boys and girls?
Only the tiresome spelling, writing, ciphering classes?
Only a Public School?
Ah more, infinitely more;

And you, America,
Cast you the real reckoning for your present?
The lights and shadows of your future, good or evil?
To girlhood, boyhood look, the Teacher and the School.

-Walt Whitman, 
An Old Man's Thought of School
It's time to leave this place, school's 
out, an endless summer beckons, time
to shut the schoolhouse gate ...PS 95...
JHS 143...De Witt Clinton
graduate school... more graduate schools
...then L-S....a lifetime in school to under-
stand at long last how little I understand, 
finally passing the test, maybe......the 
teachers who frightened me and those who 
flooded my mind with light, the kids I went 
to school with, my pals, my chums, the
students I would later teach, the colleagues
who would teach me, courtyard days, 
cabin days, mural days, trip days, 
tired days, awake days, cranky days, 
happy days, great class days, terrible 
class days, Sundays, the same old 
apprehensions, the days and nights 
of the teacher, of the student, all this, 
all these, in my head forever, now 
turned to dream.

December 21, 2004

All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
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