Barb Lindberg, Published March 09 2012
Far from being a ‘ghetto’ school, Clara Barton a wonderful placeI recently read Bill Marcil Jr.’s column titled “Brother Michael’s legacy.” Even though I did not personally know Brother Michael, I remember him from when I was a child. Marcil’s description that he had “swagger” was spot on. His tribute to him was beautifully written.
However, one of the comments in the article left me with questions. He referred to our mutual grade school, Clara Barton, as the “ghetto.” I realize he used quotes around this word to indicate that it wasn’t really the ghetto, but it still brought out the defender in me.
We attended Clara Barton at the same time. To check on this, I pulled out a roster from Mrs. Davenport’s 1970 afternoon kindergarten class. Both Marcil’s name and mine are on that roster.
Maybe I am more naïve, both then and now, but my feelings about Clara Barton are nearly magical. It was closer to heaven than the ghetto in every single respect. Clara Barton was not affluent, but that does not negate its attributes. The small stairs, the mural of Bert and Ernie on the way to the music room, the gymnasium with the tiny stage, the fourth-grade portable, the pink warming house, the ice rink, the four-square court and the smell – that bookish, warm, grade school smell.
Don’t forget some of the wonderful people we met: Mrs. Davenport, who, in my view, is the most amazing kindergarten teacher in the world, with a calm and forgiving demeanor; Mr. Kolba, the gym teacher who participated along with us; Mrs. Koppelman, the music teacher whose class I looked forward to like it was a birthday party.
Finally, the education we received. Until I went to college, I hadn’t realized what an amazing free education I received from my grade school, junior high and high school. We were lucky to live in an environment that gave us a safe and comfortable place to learn.
I am sorry to cloud the lovely remembrance Marcil wrote about Brother Michael by singling out one word of his article. I suppose journalists are always defending what they write. But I felt the need to defend one of my true loves, Clara Barton, my grade school.