The 1863 Lake Map. Lot 3. Source: Note Centerline Road is marked "Proposed Road"

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Old Alma Schoolhouse

Poem written by Donna ( Barbour ) MacPhee
In the year 2006.

The old Alma Schoolhouse
sitting alone in the yard
with smashed panes in its windows
and a broken heart

Oh, what has happened
to the peace I was
I saw so many children
if only because

It was for their education
to set them free
to grow to be men and women
and independent be

My life of love was filled
with times both good and bad
but it was a learning place
that everyone had

An opportunity to become someone
to learn to read and write
oh, it wasn’t easy
it was quite a fight

I thought I’d always be
the place where the community met
but times were quickly changing
it wasn’t over yet

Every day I saw things happen
some I knew not why
there were those students
who didn’t come back
to say a simple good bye

They had moved on
they had to live
they wanted to be someone

I wept as life became harder
for the people who lived here
it was a struggle to pay
                  their taxes and bills
things were becoming dear

My walls and roof
a shelter so kind
for all who trod within
to develop their minds

I wondered why I was getting weak
my walls were bulging
my roof was sagging
                and beginning to leak

The pot bellied stove
that kept me warm
on the cold winter’s day
now had no reason for alarm
for it stood alone
in the middle of the floor
no heat in its innards
who opened the door?

It made no difference
if it was ice cold
There was no scuttle
so they’d be no coal

I wondered again
how this could be
I was only the old
               Alma Schoolhouse
and it was just me

The old pump outside
with its handle up high
would need to be primed
oh, but it was dry

The peeling paint
the shingles so rough
made me look like
I was ever so rough

I wasn’t tough
I was sad
If only I had people
It made me mad
to think that I
of all that was
of great importance
was simply alone and lost

The latch on the door
now idly hung
it didn’t need the key
the caretaker always brung

I was opened to the world
with privacy no more
if only I could...
close that door

Maybe I could
once again take control
and then the teacher’d
call the roll

The students within
my domain
would say ‘here’ or ‘present’
when hearing their name

But, I am only
old Alma School
to think I was important
would make me a fool

I am no fool
the fools are they
who thought they knew more
and needed a say

In better things
they strived to be
but left me lame
for the world to see

My only wish
is that I could be
once again who I was
not a prisoner, but free

To leave me alone
with no hope at all
made me weak and tired
would I fall?

I had no choice
but to let go
because there was no one
it was a bad show

I would have to bend
with the weight of the world
I would sag and buckle
as the destruction of
                     time unfurled

For I was lonely
as I could be
the people drove by
I could surely see

I was not blind
they thought I was
I was lonely and dejected
that I was

Would I see another year
I really didn’t care
Oh, there’s someone coming
Maybe they’ll be fair

What are they doing
I wondered to myself
as they took out their cameras
from the cases, themselves

I would be remembered
I knew how, too
I would be on paper
Oh, it was too good to be true

If I fell down
it mattered not
I was recorded in a photo
I would be – forgotten not

People would look at it
and they would say
Do you remember
the other day?

It was the other day
the one long lost
Rough times I had known
the price a high cost

If you see me on paper
you’ll never guess
that I won the battle
now I must rest

for I am
        The Old Alma Schoolhouse
* I wrote this story in 2006, knowing that the demise was near for Alma Corner.  The school would be surely gone.  The very same school – Alma School No. 43 – served the community well in many ways.  It was a place of education, community functions, school picnics and the interaction of the people on both the Western Road and the Centerline Road.  I was alway remember the old Alma Schoolhouse.
**Photos taken of Alma School in 1994 by Donna.

No comments:

Post a Comment