EATING SOAP AT CENTRAL SCHOOL
Growing up in the heart of Bisbee, Arizona, my childhood was woven into the fabric of this vibrant town. Nestled in neighborhoods like South Bisbee and Galena, I was a local at many of the town's schools. My educational journey began at Lowell School for kindergarten, then onto Central School for 1st grade, followed by Huachuca Terrace in San Jose for 2nd grade, and finally, Greenway School for grades 3 to 5.
Amid these school days, some moments stand out more starkly than others. A particularly poignant memory traces back to my days at Central School. This period was interlaced with idyllic summer times spent with my grandparents on Quality Hill. My Papa, a teacher himself, was free in the summers, and alongside Grandmama, they became our guardians while our parents worked.
Quality Hill was a playground for my friends and me, its hilly contours setting the stage for countless adventures. One such friend, a girl who lived across from my grandparents, harbored a youthful crush on me. In an innocent yet unwelcome gesture, she once kissed me in her basement. Little did I know, my reaction to this toddler's kiss would echo back unexpectedly.
One ordinary day in Central School, I was jolted from my first-grade classroom routine when my teacher suddenly grabbed my hand and led me to the restroom. There, I was ordered to wash my mouth with soap - EATING SOAP. My alleged crime? Cursing at my desk. Despite my protests and confusion – I was only five and barely mastered English, let alone profanity – my pleas fell on deaf ears.
The truth dawned on me later: the girl I had rejected was my classmate. In her bid for revenge, she concocted the story that landed me in trouble. Her plan was executed with a bittersweet precision.
Today, Central School holds a special place in Bisbee's history and our hearts. It's a highlight of our Bisbee Tours, where visitors can glimpse the classroom and restroom windows that framed my unjust punishment. The school's bell tower, a sentinel of history, once warned locals of Apache attacks.
Join us on a journey through Bisbee, and experience the storied Central School, a witness to both personal tales and historic events.