Almost everyday of the year, I drive to and back from school. It takes two minutes to get from Point A to Point B, assuming there is no traffic. Fast and reliable, this way of transportation never does me wrong, nor does it fail any of my other friends who mostly all also drive. Yet, each day as I take the repetitive drive, I always get a feeling inside me that just doesn't sit right.
Right before I hop in my car each day, I get dressed in my room. As I put my clothes on and slide into my shoes, I can't help but look outside my window and notice the group of younger students who assemble at my street corner every school day at 7:00 AM. Regularly there are many, sometimes few; occasionally on bikes, other times riding their scooters. Yet, no matter the means of transportation, or the quantity of the group, each day they go to and back from school together. Just a group of friends who, even if they only get to talk with each other for ten minutes before their first class begins, take the time to get up early and make something of their morning. Despite the less amount of sleep and actually having use energy to transport themselves to school, I have no doubt in my mind that these kids will be glad they decided to meet at that corner each day.
Before school sports, the driver's license, and those valued extra minutes of lying in bed, I walked to and from school everyday with at least one of my friends. In kindergarten, it was my mother. We’d walk up to the old Eisenhower Elementary School holding hands as she asked me questions about various things in life only for me to respond ever-so-purely and innocently with an answer. Next came the short, one-block walk to Schaeffer. I’d go with my next-door neighbor down the block, sometimes in a sprint, to see if we could make it to our class line before the bell. Hoover came two years after... sometimes walking with one good friend, other times on scooters with a group. Alongside my classmate, I remember being the first known kid in the fourth grade to walk from the North Side of Camp Hill to Hoover Elementary without using a single crossing guard to get to school; simply unheard of at the time. In fifth grade, we’d start our trip to school by jumping off of the local Cheese Mountain and across to the other side of the creek. We’d then proceed to race on our Razor scooters to school, zooming past any pedestrian that stood in our way.
Then came the climax of the walks to school: the sixth grade. Always surrounded by a group of at least three, these mid-range walks to and from the Middle school provided me with some of my most distinct childhood memories. Whether it was failed creek jumps, walnut/pinecone wars, playing in the rain, snowball fights, throwing water balloons at cars, getting into fights with older students, or concussing a girl with a stray hose-nozzle; these times will always be deeply cherished in my heart.
As the age of cars and the inability to wake up early set in, these events slowly came to an end. Yet, as nice as cars and maximized time at home are, I always regret not being in a similar type of group each morning gathering outside on a street corner somewhere, waiting to create even more one-of-a-kind memories than passing them by in a mere two minute drive each day.