I attended elementary, or grammar school, from 1933 to 1936 and received that part of my education in a big, impressive two-story building that still stands on Gilmore Street in Jacksonville. Four massive Doric and Ionic columns come into view at the front steps as one approaches the entrance. This old building is almost in the shade of I-10 going west, but still visible.
Even though the lettering carved in stone above the entrance reads, “Public School Number Four,” it’s being called “Annie Lytle Elementary.” I would like to see that building turned into a museum, a museum dedicated solely to education. I don’t mean teaching, but educating. The word EDUCATE comes from the Latin base duc, meaning “to pull” or “tug.” In other words, “to bring out.” Education comes along with learning and much of what we learn is imparted to us in a building. We learn how to read and write, add and subtract, how to execute good penmanship, citizenship, etc. Children can hardly write any more or spell English words correctly.
Definitions. Maybe it all comes down to definitions. Instructing, comma, teaching, comma, and training all become involved in the process of education. So, I want to communicate with my readers the downright joy of learning. I want to lighten up here and share that “a-ha” moment, that little thrill that comes when we get it, when we say, “oh, I see,” “now I understand,” “now I can move on.” It’s just really exciting to me. I can think of no other way to say it. It’s simply the joy of learning and it takes place for the teacher as well as the student. Learning is, after all, a lifelong experience and process.
My museum would be about other schools of learning, from kindergartens to universities in the surrounding community or perhaps even the whole state of Florida. It would contain displays of historical events, past and present, sports would be included, and the history of sororities and fraternities. It would be about parents as well as teachers, the PTA organizations and home schooling. I know of parents who do home schooling and whether they realize it or not, every parent is educating his or her own child from the day of its birth. Make no mistake, parents, your child is listening, learning and becoming educated.
Every time I ride by that building, I’m reminded of happy times. I think I remember at one time there was a discussion of turning it into an art museum. Why not? Of course, it would take lots of money, as well as permissions, certifications, property rights agreements and all of that. It would also need cooperation among many organizations of people, and the people themselves. Someone would need to be in charge. Oh, I almost forgot—insurance. We all know how important that is.
Well, I don’t know how many families there are living in the immediate vicinity, but if it’s feasible and they’re agreeable, simply turn it back into a school. After all, it was built to be PUBLIC SCHOOL NUMBER FOUR.
Since beginning this little treatise, I have visited the site and I’m sorry to say, because of the deafening noise pollution from traffic on the interstate, the building may never be able to be used for anything except, perhaps, a factory or storage facility or a parking garage. So sad.
Walters is a Jacksonville resident.