Abolishment…………………..#59 (the 50’s)

To be destroyed but never forgotten

To be destroyed but never forgotten

       The fateful day was Wednesday, March 27th, 1957,  it was the morning that Gary presented his earthshaking oral report in Miss Lamping’s American History class and it was the day a 5.3 magnitude earthquake rattled the bay-area and the school.   Seismologist finding  the epicenter’s location to be across the bay in Daly City,  south of San Francisco.  It was the strongest quake along the San Francisco peninsula since 1906.   The rumbling and results of the quake didn’t register with the Youth at the time,  but the announcement that followed would.    Gary’s Mother was a board member on the District PTA and was in attendance during a presentation of an official  seismologist report concerning the earthquake and the Oakland Public School buildings.   She approached the constituency with consternation about Castlemont High School and received an invitation to tour the educational building as a PTA representative  to witness the structural damage.   Upon completion of the school assessment,  she was testimony to the results of the inspection and the Public Schools forthcoming announcement.   The exisiting Castlemont high school buildings would be demolished and replaced with a modern structure.

Replaced by a bridge

Replaced by a bridge

Replaced by a bus

Replaced by a bus

      Gary remembering his early school educational  experiences and the original Burckhalter Elementary building standing vacant and forlorn awaiting removal.   During his final year of  Junior High,  the announcement of another buildings destruction, Frick Junior High would be demolished soon after his departure.   Gary often wondered about the reasoning for removing these well serving institutions, was it in the name of safety,  or the ascension of a trafficking commerce and their political overtones.   Questioning if there was a place for progress with a purpose in his melancholy world, retrieving the adventuress times on the Richmond-San Rafael Ferry,  it too being replaced by an accelerated passageway called a bridge.  No more can one board the Bay traversing vessel to experience the briskness of the breeze entering thru the Golden Gate, communicating its presence as it travels across the deck or the identifying smell of brine nuzzling the bellowing movement of the bow.    The Electric Train, or publicly known as the Transbay Transit  becoming another appliance of the past,  never again to traverse the Bay Bridge,  a person able to sit in its confines,  the speciousness,  absorb the clickety-clack rhythmic sound as its silent motors propel the carriages across the unimpeded  span of track,  another  replaced  by the cramped enclosed quarters of a bus, that continues to stop and go in the congestion of traffic. 

The destruction of beauty

The destruction of beauty

      The teens mother relating that the school had suffered structural damage,  Gary not realizing or comprehending the extent until  word began to spread at school,  Castlemont was going to be replaced.  It was an unacceptable thought, an unspoken topic,  never again the subject of discussion among his classmates,  he  concluded,  it was because his class was living in the present and wouldn’t be subject to the annihilation of this beautiful structure.    Standing before the building as he did on that first day,  heeding the view of ivy covered walls,  majestic ascending  towers,  lily laden reflection pond,  he searched his emotions for an explanation or reason to destroy this emblem of man’s achievement.   If only the structure could speak for itself,  the words would be, ” surely another remedy could be found”.   Gary pondered,  was this the beginning of a new ideology,  expediency is better than reflection,  contemporary  is more desirable than the celebrated,  but knew in his heart,  abolishment could never replace memories.


2 Responses to “Abolishment…………………..#59 (the 50’s)”

  1. gwillson7 Says:

    Haven’t quite deciphered your comment, but thank you for the acknowledgement…….Gary

  2. Patrick Dyer Says:

    My Dad (1920-1978) went to Frick & Castlemont (Class of 1938, I have the Yearbook). That Daly City quake was not long before noon on Friday, March 22 – slightly felt in my 4th-grade class at Olive ES in Novato (Marin Co.) – but a lot worse by my Mom at home, which was built on filled land.

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