Memories, moments, musings at school events

       Here are some snatches from what happened or was said or remembered at the recent, sometimes emotional farewell events for Pike, Washington and Whittier schools...
       Bob Edgar and Neil Luehring went to Whittier in the late 1930s. Edgar's mother, Charlotte (Wolgamood) Edgar, had gone there in 1908, when the building was just seven years old.
       “I used to enjoy the track meets,” Edgar reminisced. “And I had good teachers.”
       Sitting in a wheel chair, Luehring grinned up at his long-time friend. “I don't see any of our teachers here,” he said.
       Steve Cox, now the fire chief for Colorado Springs, is an alumnus of Pike Elementary. He and his wife Juli attended the Pike farewell event. “It seemed like the school was the center of the neighborhood,” Cox recalled of his time there, 30-some years ago. Spankings at school were still allowed then; a fond memory is the time he “got into a tussle” with another kid. “He got spanked, not me,” Cox laughed.
       Bravely taking up the open microphone, Washington preschooler Charlie Chabot told everyone in the gym, “We might go to a different school, but we still like this school.”
       Dottie Spann, who attended Whittier in the mid-'40s, retains vivid memories of those years. There used to be a candy store right across the street called Barney's, and she would buy candy called Kits. It had four pieces, she said, and her favorite flavor was banana. She also recalled the day when, at age 7 or 8, she and three friends decided to pet a chow dog on a neighbor's front porch. The dog let itself be petted, but as Dorothy turned to leave, it bit her on her backside. “I was bleeding, but trying not to let it show how much it hurt,” she said.
       The Queen family has been prominent at Pike Elementary for a quarter century. Debbie Queen worked at the school eight years, after first volunteering at the school in 1982, when her oldest daughter Christy went there. “I've seen four principals here,” she said.
       Her younger daughter, Katie Queen, attended Pike from 1990 to 1996. Katie remembers when Pike's Pirate statue was created by alumnus Chuck Green. Christy's daughter went to preschool there. Debbie's mother, Glenna Ruby, worked in the kitchen.
       At Washington and Pike, Principals Terry Martinez and Manuel Ramsey, respectively, offered short, encouraging speeches as part of the farewell activities. But Whittier Principal Marlys Berg limited her comments to the following sentence: “The last bell is rung, and Whittier Elementary, you are dismissed.” Why didn't she say more? “Because I know I would have cried,” Berg responded.
       Mary Michelle Wilson attended Washington from 1981 to 1984. “I remember every Friday we used to go skating or swimming,” she said. Other memories include Junior Achieve-ment, a candy shop across the street and a teacher giving students a tour of Old Colorado City. “This was the favorite of all my schools,” she said.
       Whittier librarian Dawn Bartlett wrote a poem for the farewell ceremony. Her voice cracking once or twice, she read it out loud to the attendees, many of whom were waiting to let their balloons go. The closing lines are these:
       “108 incredible years in just the blink of an eye. And now we send our farewells into the blue Colorado sky./ May the vivid colors of this day paint your memories with laughter. May each life here be touched now and forever after./ So, farewell now to you, Whittier, and with a bittersweet sigh, we give you our thanks, and a sincere, heartfelt, good-bye.”

Westside Pioneer article