When I wound up in a special pilot program known as Family Focus back in the late 1980s, I had to go to Southwood Elementary school in Bloomington, Minnesota. But unlike the school I had just come from –Excelsior Elementary in Excelsior, Minnesota- Southwood did not have its own school library. The result was that we had to be bused to much bigger nearby Westwood Elementary and use their library.
Westwood stands near the built-up intersection of Old Shakopee Road and France Avenue. Our bus would roll up the latter street and then swing down a side street and up to the main entrance, where we would disembark and embark.
One sight that became firmly affixed in my memory was the tall chimney Westwood boasted. It rose like a landmark each time the school came into view as the bus hummed up France. I was not a happy camper in those days about being so far from home in a strange pilot program filled up with kids who did not fit into the cogs of public education like so many of our peers, and because of that mood that chimney soon took on a melancholy appearance as it frowned down on the school like a monolithic statue raised to celebrate the glories of public education. It frowned down on me on all those bad days and yes, the rare good one as my life’s path intersected with Westwood on a regular basis.
Then one day I was freed from that pilot program and now only see that chimney on rare occasions such as the day I snapped its picture for future use in an article about it. A chimney I now hereby dub “the spire of Westwood.” It seems to fit.