Friday, September 13, 2002

Living in Boise: The Time Machine

Yesterday was Back To School Night at my son's high school, and when I compare the experience to California, I am so surprised and pleased I am by the differences. It's like going back 30 years or more.

The principal gave a nice little speech, but first, the high school's choir sang "The Star Spangled Banner," and we all sang "God Bless America." I looked around, and everywhere I looked were sincere faces; when the football team came in from practice, we could hear them hushing up their more boisterous teammates so as not to interrupt the national anthem.

The principal showed with pride what the last two graduating classes had bought for the school. A switch was thrown, and lowered from the ceiling of the gym was an American flag at least 10 feet on the shorter dimension.

What is the name of the Centennial High team? "The Patriots." Unlike schools back East, which have used the wonders of paint and airbrush to make gentler, unarmed representations of the Minutemen, everywhere you go in Centennial High, you see a painting of a Minuteman, holding a flintlock. Okay, I've spent too much time studying the subject of late, so I have to carp that the flintlock in question isn't really properly proportioned for either a Brown Bess or a Charleville musket; the lockwork is too large; you should be able to see the flint. But there is no shame about America's past here.

My son's American history class has one entire wall painted as a waving flag. The teacher told us that the district ordered fresh paint everywhere, but the painting contractor looked at this splendid piece of patriotic art done by a previous class, and said that he would simply not cover it over; they would have to get someone else to do that.

What did I hear from several of my son's teachers? "The kids are well behaved and are taking classes seriously."

I am so glad we left Sonoma County, California. (Yes, that's the county just north of John Walker Lindh's home, and that is no coincidence.)

No comments:

Post a Comment