Monday, June 11, 2007

One-Room Schoolhouse

What characterizes some of the photo albums of jwwalter, a photographer who makes her(?) work available online, are the pictures of deserted farmsteads in North Dakota. See the album titled North Dakota: Where the West Begins, for example.

During a recent jaunt across Kansas, I discovered the deserted one-room schoolhouse pictured here. The building itself is surrounded by a wheat field. Some of the local people, teens presumably, have hauled hay bales inside the building and have been using the building as a place to drink. They had made a path through the wheat to the building.

If there were time enough, I would welcome the opportunity to take many more leisurely car trips through Kansas in search of deserted buildings like this school house. I can't think of a better way to spend a few days away from the worry that accompanies everyday life. All of my trips would be of short duration, however, because of my problems sleeping in hotel rooms. For some reason, I cannot relax enough to sleep in a hotel room, unless I'm alone and able to leave the TV on and turned to the Weather Channel, without the volume turned up, even though I don't normally sleep with the TV on at home. I ended up having to sit upright in the bed and imagine that I was asleep in the passenger seat of the car the last time I spent a night in a hotel room with my family. It's rough being me sometimes.

I have often considered converting an old school building, not a one-room schoolhouse but a neighborhood elementary school or middle school, into a place to live. Although the amount of energy heating and cooling the building would dramatically increase my carbon footprint, the idea is appealing at times because of how the space could be put to use. Perhaps if I were in possession of the construction and architectural skills and had the money to invest, it would be possible to convert a school into condominiums or offices.