Thursday, July 8, 2010


By Keith N Fisher

The Cliché “You can’t go home again,” was meant to convey feelings derived from a visit to places from your youth that turn out to be less than you had inflated them. In my case the term has literal meaning.

I sat this week, gazing at the flattened, bombed out space that used to be Orem High School. I spent three of my best years wandering those halls. I learned how to kiss girls and dissect a frog.

I remember the time we found the unlocked trapdoor in the storage room of the auto shop. It led to the bomb shelter. Also, the time when my friend, Dave Cryer, and I, wrote an argument skit by assignment for drama class. It was brilliant. We acquired a starter’s pistol with the intention of using it in the end.

We rehearsed, we had it down pat, and on the morning of the skit I drove my friends to school. I pulled in that space between the gym and the trades building and passed the school policeman. Another friend pointed the gun through the open window and . . .

Well, you can guess what happened next. If my friend had done that today, we would still be in prison. Officer Guyman didn’t want to, but he finally cut us a break. We were able to use the gun in our skit with the promise we would put it away and never bring it out at school again.

The skit went off without a hitch. I pushed Dave. He pushed me. The choreography was flawless. I fell to the floor on my back, pulled the gun from my boot, and fired. Dave reacted to each shot and screams were heard from our audience.

I recall sharing a locker with my girlfriend. We left love notes for each other. I remember the Sweetheart Ball, and Preference. Football, and Wresting. I remember driving my truck up the steps in the courtyard between the driver’s Ed room and the girl’s gym. I did it on a dare and busted my exhaust manifold in the process.

There was the night my friend Kelly Rawlings spent, tethered under the football field bleachers. He was lucky enough to be in unified studies. Oh yeah, life was grand. I was the kid who issued parking tickets in first period. I went out the front door and worked my way south writing tickets to cars without permits. Then, up the lunch ladies row with my truck parked at the end. I’d climb in and go to breakfast. Sorry Mr. Jarman, I wish I’d done better.

I had friends in every click. Friendly faces in every classroom. I was lucky to be a bicentennial senior, class of 1976.

A few years ago, our church group took on the service project to do a major deep clean, and repair the old school. Some people from our group cleaned out the bomb shelter and came out wearing so much dust they were almost unrecognizable. I helped clean windows.

After the cleaning, my wife and I walked the halls in amazement. Classrooms had replaced the courtyard between the band rooms and the gyms. Our precious little theater, was something else, they had taken part of the trades building and made the new little theater. My locker was still there. At the East End of C hall, near the Driver’s Ed Room. That’s where I hung out—across from the water fountain. I will be standing there in my mind forever. Every time I try to go home again.

Now things have changed. I was given to understand, the district was directed to bring Orem High up to earthquake standards. It was decided it would be cheaper to replace it. I don’t know if that’s true, but there is a new school, built in the old parking lot.

According to my sparse research, Orem High was built in 1956. You can see from the picture that C hall didn’t exist. Many of the things I recall hadn’t been built yet. A lot of renovation came after I left. Now it’s gone, I really can’t go home again.

Orem High School 1956-2010

Hey kids of the twenty-first century, good luck with the new haunts. Orem High School Number Two 2010-?

1 comment:

Mackay Memories said...

It's amazing that I am reading this today. It's our 13th anniversary of Brett and I's first date tommorrow. The place we went the 49th street galeria is no longer in operation. I feel the same about mom's house and grandma & grandpa Ostler's house. I don't like to go down those streets anymore because it makes me sad.

It sounds like you had a lot of fun in high school. Karalee