The sky was so tall from the Benson Hill Playground.
I attended Benson Hill from kindergarten through 6th grade.
The original building plan was so interesting yet it was not timeless: In this modern era of fear and kooks it was no longer safe design. The buildings were spread apart, divided amongst primary and secondary kids. Today, conventional wisdom is that schools need a single entry/exit style for safety. I'm sure it is but I do regret that my original school still does not stand.
I spent an inordinate amount of time at my school mainly because I lived a block away. Most days when school was out I'd hike home only to turn around and go back up for a second shift of fun. Usually we'd ride/jump bikes, play sports or just tromp around the forest. One memorable extracurricular afternoon in 6th grade stands out. We made kites out of garbage bags and my friend and I decided we needed to test our kites while riding bikes.
You'll notice to the left, that the speaker on top of the gymnasium is knocked over. We didn't try to knock it over, it just got stuck between our kite, our string and our bike.
The speaker was rarely used and that is probably why it was never repaired. It stood that way from about 1985 until the school was torn down in 2007.
In Pacific Northwest tradition, each building or "house" was named after something local. In this case, mountains in Washington State.
In these buildings I learned how to spell, do basic math, the rules to more games than I can remember - and how to do the schottische. We traded things from our lunch sacks, got excited for popcorn on Fridays (25¢!) and talked about the most recent Starblazers episodes.
How many hands opened the old ice cream freezer??
Here I am in 1981 or so, blissfully unaware of how bad the Mariners were and would continue to be, minus a 5 year run in the late 90s. This is probably the last time I wore bell bottoms - I do not ever remember owing a pair. My older cousin handed me down a pair of her Levi's 501s soon hereafter and I never looked back.
Also, I'd kill to still have and be able to fit into that killer Mariners top. I want to say it was a shirt from a giveaway but can't say for certain after all this time.
Also a necessity in Washington were these "umbrellas" where kids could hang out even the event of a downpour. Climbing was discouraged but you can imagine the fun we had on these things!
Here is the library where I first read of fighter pilots, astronauts and the Box Car Children.
Oh and don't forget every Judy Bloom book we could get our hands on! We didn't have computers all over the place quite yet but we did play Oregon Trail on the Apple II's. What a thrill! I always try to ford the river.
In 1985 I spent my last year at Benson Hill. Like most moving on to middle school had no idea the shock to the system of going from the big fish to small fry was gonna be... hard.
For those that haven't seen enough, I'm putting up this gallery of all the photos I had taken the day I toured Benson Hell Elementary v1 for the last time.