Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Old School

This post is, quite literally, about an old school. Not about something traditional, or old-fashioned, or whatever it is people mean when they say, "I'm old school..."

Although it is, in fact, a school from an earlier era.

The school is along one of my several default bike routes. I've been meaning to take its picture for the last five or six years, but my regular camera is this expensive, bulky thing that is not a good companion on a bicycle. And my cell phone takes really shitty pictures.

We got a new camera recently, though. One of those low-budget, go-to cameras that takes pictures rather than photographs. Thin and lightweight. Slips easily into the pocket of my cycling jersey.

And so, voila! Here it is. The old school.

The school is one hundred years old. The year "1911" is chiseled in stone above the front door.

It's called the Valmont School, and it is no longer in use. Unfortunately this picture does not do it any justice. I took it around 1pm, just as shadows began falling over the building's front. An early morning picture would be far better. I intend to get one when we get a little further into summer, when I like to take rides earlier in the day.

There's a "No Trespassing" sign affixed to the padlocked fence surrounding the grounds, and an extra wire at the top of the fence that might be electric. Probably not, but I wasn't about to test it.

Anyway, I've been passing this school for years. It's on 61st Street on the outskirts of my town. I'm worried the place is doomed, since it is certainly not in use as an educational facility, and as far as I can tell, not used for anything else, either.

Here's a close-up view of the stone inscription above the door:

Valmont School, Dist. No. 4, 1911.

An antique.

And at last, in its centennial year, I've finally managed to get its picture. I'd prefer to get it with my other camera, which has superior optics.

There are other photos I've been meaning to take on my bike rides, but haven't, for the same reason I put off taking this one. Like the farm with a sign advertising "organic manure – we help you load" – that one will be good for a laugh!

But that farm is way the hell north of here, along one of my mid-summer routes. I only go up that way later in the cycling season, when I'm in better shape. If I took that route now...ouch, I don't even like to think about how much it would hurt these poor ol' legs of mine.

But with this sleek new camera, I'll be getting it before too much longer. Try to contain your enthusiastic anticipation.

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