After kindergarten, my education moved up the hill and across a massive playground into a larger facility, built in 1962, less than a decade before I attended it. Walking to school on most days, I always entered the playground door, but outside the front door of the building was the quaint monument pictured at left. Atop the red brick foundation was an old bell, moved from the original 1890s school a few blocks away. I was always told the bell was to commemorate two boys who had been hit and killed by a car. Had I read the plaque as a child, I would know that story is not true. The bell is an authentic school bell that rang daily in the lives of homesteading children.
A major part of Oklahoma history involves the famous (or is it infamous?) Land Run of 1889. While people were allowed to rush into the state to claim free land, a section of the land was marked as unavailable for homesteading. This reserved land is the location of my elementary education, from kindergarten to sixth grade. Updated when a new school building was constructed and the bell was relocated on the property a couple of years ago, the bell's current plaque reveals this tidbit:
"The heavily wooded area was known by various names such as The Grove, the Woodpile and The Woodlot. Wood from this reserve was for the use of Fort Reno and was guarded by Cavalry Troopers."
This is the same place where I slid down fast, metal slides. It's the place where I learned you always have to be ready for the person on the other end of the seesaw to jump off, sending you plummeting to the ground. Here is the location of my two favorite playground activities, from kindergarten to sixth grade: spinning and flying off of the two fastest merry-go-rounds in the world and kissing girls (but that's a whole different history than the one being told here).
I have scanned some documents and pictures to highlight the history of Cecil Floyd, the man and the school. If you are interested, you can see those documents for yourself in my Cecil Floyd Historian website. Who knows? You might discover that you are walking in the footsteps of history.