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‘Oh, how I loved those days’ growing up at Schmitz Park

Connie Reynolds Thomas, an assistant professor of nursing at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, took a few minutes to jot down her childhood memories after reading on our website about the traditional opening day at Schmitz Park Elementary School:

“In getting ready to attend my 50th class reunion from West Seattle High School, I reflect on my journey to that graduation day, which began at Schmitz Park Elementary School when it was only portables.

“I used to play in the park and walk down to Alki Beach in the summer months from my home on Hanford Street. When I look at the area on Google Maps, I see that so much has changed. I thought of the park as my back fence.

“Funny how, when you look back in time, things that were so large are really quite tiny. For instance, when I played in the park, I was afraid to walk over a log because it was so high off the gushing river below. But the log was really only about four inches off the ground, and the water was probably a trickle from the runoff from a brief rain shower.

“Oh, how I loved those days, and I am so happy to see that this place has been saved for our future generations. ‘Thank you’ seems all too small for saving this part of our shrinking world.

“I wish that in my future that I may be able to attend one of the Schmitz Park school opening days to see the address and tradition continue. It would be another warm memory to think back upon when I reflect back on my childhood.”

Most of Connie’s childhood photos were destroyed during a massive flood in 2008 in Indiana, but she is philosophical about the loss:

“As sad as it was to lose everything, it was liberating, too. I thought I was saving the photo collection for our children only to find out that they did not care about any of it. It is just sad as you get old that the pictures would have been nice to use in going down memory lane together. But then I remember that cameras didn’t exist not that many years ago and that the pictures that mean the most are indelible in within our mind’s eye. We can still reminisce without the photos.”

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