I just returned home from a visit to Riley Elementary School in Vincennes, Indiana and am proud to schedule a visit with Barney & Lexi there on April 26th!
What makes James Whitcomb Riley Elementary so special is the opportunity to come home to the beginning of my creativity. During 1983/84 and 85, I was a student at Riley and it was during Mrs. Battles Kindergarten class that I have so many memories of building blocks that looked like bricks, storytimes and signing songs to say good morning and good bye for the day. The imagination that I use to write today was born in Mrs. Battles class in 1984.
I pulled up to the front and got out of my car. Memories were coming to mind as I reached the door and pressed the buzzer. I stepped inside and introduced myself to the secretary who asked me to come through the second doors and into the office. Walking through those doors, I stepped back in time. Riley had just been remodeled but the layout had not changed. I was standing in a hallway for the first time in 32 years and to be there because of my writing was a rush of excitement! The secretary and I discussed options and dates and worked out April 26th at 1 p.m. for my presentation with Barney & Lexi! I then was introduced to Mrs. Marchino who quickly had to leave but asked if I would stay around for a minute. She came back and brought with her, one of the most influential people in my life, Mrs. Battles!
She knew I was planning a presentation at Riley but did not know I was there today. It was an amazing moment to be reunited with one of my mentors after 32 years! We briefly talked about that year and Mrs. Susan Battles reminded me of things I had thought were forgotten. I became watery eyed when she began to sing the goodbye song that we used to sing before heading home for the day. I HAD FORGOTTEN IT!! We talked about the building blocks I remembered, the infamous storytime and a triangular shaped house made of shapes that we all used to play on.
We agreed to speak more on the 26th as we took a picture together and she returned to her class. As she left, I thanked Mrs. Marchino for her gesture and began to make my way back to my car. It was then that I felt the sense of being at the right place at the right time! When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life!
Going to make the 26th magical!