I Didn't Know How Much I Loved You

Go you Clay Center Redcoats!"

Last weekend, I went home to see my family. I made my brother drive me around town so I could take pictures of stuff.

We drove by McKinley School, which I attended for my sixth through eighth grades. The gym went up in flames awhile back. Most of the structure went relatively undamaged, but the whole gymnasium burned clear to the ground.

It was sad news for me. That gym was the site of a lot of memories for me.

In that gym, I had my first dance with my boyfriend ("One More Try" by Timmy T). I showed my class the perfect football stance. I danced around like a goober while spinning discs as a DJ for the dances. I yelled cheers at the top of my lungs, knowing it would help our teams to win.

I spent a good deal of time there before sixth grade, since my mother taught art at McKinley. Marcus and I spent a lot of time playing "Win Lose or Draw" on the chalkboards. Of course, it wasn't all play. We would also help to set up the art shows in the gym.

Riding the bus on the day of one art show with my best-friend-since-pres-school, the tornado sirens sounded.

I remember how quiet and still everyone on the bus was. Our normally unruly group of kids was scared speechless.

The bus driver got us to McKinley and we were herded into the locker rooms. My mom found me. My friend and I were kept close by her side. That meant we were practically in the doorway to the locker room. I remember not feeling too terribly safe there, but luckily the tornado didn't tear through town!


On many of my bus rides, a boy named Jimmy Koontz picked on me relentlessly. It was just one of those kid-things, I guess. I gave as much lip as I got, so it was usually pretty two-sided.

Jimmy had these nice pointy cowboy boots. He was wearing these boots one day when he chased me to the side doorway of the gym at McKinley.

I can't remember why exactly, but Jimmy decided to kick me squarely in the shin with his fancy schmancy boots.

I was just as stubborn then as I am now and told him "Ha! That didn't hurt!"

To which Jimmy replied with a swifter, harder kick to the same shin.

"That didn't hurt, either!" I cackled as I threw myself into the doorway then promptly sat on a bleacher and bawled my eyes out.

Ahh . . . memories!