Tuesday, November 3, 2015

1st Person Account: The Sad Classroom

I was the first female custodian to be hired at the city’s oldest elementary school in the late 1970s. The original part of the school had been built in 1893.

The building was very large with 3 stories. My job was to clean all the classrooms, take out the trash and make sure the doors were secure.

I was to work the night shift alone and the first day I reported to work I was warned that I should avoid cleaning the ground floor after dark. This floor made up the original school.

No explanation was given as to why I was told this.

For the first few months I went out of my way to make sure I cleaned this floor first but I found I preferred to start at the top floor and work my way down.

I enjoyed working in the quiet old school building. Like most old structures this one creaked and groaned as it settled but I actually took comfort from these sounds.

The ground floor of the school retained an old world charm. Several of the classrooms still had the mosaic designed floors and the fireplaces that once had been their only source of heat.

Each of these ground floor classrooms had windows that were below ground so each window had what is a called a window well around them.

One winter night I was in the largest of these original classrooms. I had gotten a strong sense of sadness in this room each time I entered it.

This night I placed a chair in the doorway of this classroom so I could dust the ledge above the door. I turned to find a dust cloth and when I turned back the chair was no longer in the doorway but sat several feet away.

I thought it was odd but I shrugged it off and moved the chair back to the doorway and started to dust the wood. I stopped when I heard the sounds of small children crying and then I heard banging on the windows.

Frightened, I got off the chair and my first thought was to leave the room but when the sounds continued I approached the windows thinking someone must be hiding in one of the window wells.

As I drew near these sounds all stopped.

For the next several months when I cleaned this room, I continued to hear the crying and banging on the windows. At one point I called the police but they did not find any sign of intruders.

I did not talk about what I was experiencing with other school employees but I now firmly believed the school must be haunted. I dealt with my frayed nerves by simply ignoring the strange activity.

The first summer I worked at the school my schedule was switched to days. One hot afternoon as I weeded the yard two older women who lived across the street from the school approached me and offered me a glass of lemonade.

As I drank the cold drink I found out the two women were sisters and both widows, they had moved back into their family home. The older sister mentioned that the school had certainly changed since they had attended it.

Thinking of the noises I had heard, I asked them if they knew of anything bad ever happening at the school. They both eagerly nodded their heads “yes.”

The older one who seemed to do all the talking told me that their family had lived across from the school for several generations. Their grandfather had attended the school in the late 1800s.

Our grandfather told us that one day one teacher left her classroom for a dalliance with a male teacher. To ensure none of her students left the classroom she wedged a chair under the classroom doorknob.

While she was gone an ember from the fireplace set the classroom on fire. Her young students trapped, all perished in the fire. The younger sister jumped in at this point.

“They say the windows in the room afterwards had to be replaced. The youngsters had beaten on them so hard that they were stained with blood. This blood wouldn’t wash off.”

A chill ran down my back as I asked what happened to the teacher. The older sister told me that she was never seen again. Again the younger sister interrupted.

“Have you seen them? The children I mean. Have you heard them?”

Just then the head custodian hollered that I needed to get back to work. Lost in my thoughts, I remembered to thank the sisters for the lemonade as they crossed the street.

Fall came and once more I was working the night shift. I could never keep a chair in the doorway of the sad classroom very long and knowing what I now knew I never closed the door.

The sounds of the crying and banging started up once more. I decided to try and talk to these young ghosts. I told them that their parents were waiting for them and they should go.

This seemed to help because after this I heard fewer voices crying.

Then one night as I was working on the 2nd floor I was saved from an injury or even death. As I approached one classroom I heard a strange squeaking above my head. I looked up but saw nothing.

As I stepped over the threshold I heard a child’s voice yell, “No.” Then something shoved me backward with such force I fell on my bottom. It was then a loud crashing noise came from the classroom.

The heavy overhead lights had fallen to the ground. Plaster from the ceiling covered the desks and floor. I started to shake realizing what a close call I had. I was grateful school was not in session.

As I sat on the ground I felt two little arms encircle my waist giving me a hug. I whispered, “thank you” and then ran to a phone to report the damage.

No comments: