I grew up behind Shiloh Elementary School. The building which loomed so large as a child is gone, all that remains is an empty lot, my field of dreams. It seems so small now.
This was the place were I anxiously walked across the street for my first day of Kindergarten with Mrs. Wilson. This was the building I left after Eight Grade with Mrs. Brower for the intimidating world of high school. I learned how to read and write in the building and I spent a great deal of my free time on the school property as well. There were countless hours playing baseball, basketball and football and dreaming of making it professionally in all three. There was bike racing and bike tag around and around and around the building. This was the place where friendships were developed that have endured to this day. This was where I fell in and out of love a dozen times; although it seems there was one crush that endured for several years.
This place holds so many childhood memories. Memories of kickball, volleyball, indoor hockey and, basketball, where I was a seldom used player on a very bad Eighth Grade basketball team. Memories of Field Days and School Carnivals and PTA Lunches of sloppy joes and ice cream sandwiches kept in dry ice. Memories of those special occasions of walking to the drug store on Main Street for lunch, provided one brought a note from home and had fifty cents to spare. Memories of hot chocolate after a cold morning standing watch on the Safety Patrol. Even memories of lugging a violin or cello back and forth to school and to the house next door to the school that served as the instrumental music room for a few years.
Sometimes we do not recognize when a significant person has entered our life. I had a lot of very good teachers at Shiloh who have had a great influence on the person I have become. But the person from Shiloh that turned out to have the greatest impact on my life was Mr. Ayres, the custodian. I did not know it while I was attending Shiloh, but Mr. Ayres just so happened to have a daughter who was the same age as I. About two years after I moved on from Shiloh I had the good fortune to met his daughter. We went on a few double dates while in high school, just not with each other. It was during our college years that we began dating and soon after graduation we were married. So for more than thirty years now, I have known Mr. Ayres as my Father-In-Law.
Shiloh was indeed a place of memories that still remains a field of dreams.