This is Mr. Byron T Watts.
This time I’m gonna show you quickly the building as it is now this isn’t what it looked like when I was in school here but, this is where I attended the seventh grade of my educational upbringing and frankly, it was the worst year of my life as far as education goes.
This was a private school and this location was only here for a couple of years before it moved to the place where I eventually graduated. But, the reason I came to this school is because I was scared to death of going to Jr. High as an under, as a younger student than the people who were threatening or, playing, probably, with hazing and issues like that, so I came to this place and pretty much got beaten up by the entire class and things were pretty rough. Met a lot of good people, but not a lot of them liked me very much.
The place where we ended up spending a great deal of time I will show you here in a moment.
The fence is still here and it’s still broken down and this is right where we would cross over into state property…which now I’m technically trespassing…
it’s overgrown a little bit but this is an area that has a great deal of woods. The top of this hill is currently an Illinois Interstate Rest Area which was partly developed when I was at this location going to school but it hadn’t been fully developed. The concrete or the asphalt, depending on what the roadway is, was laid in place, but nothing was being used up there. So, this is where we spent a lot of time running through the woods with sleds and there’s a lot of hills in here and doing interesting kid things when we had some time.
Here’s another view of some of the woods area and the hills and there’s a bit of a gully down here. Lots of interesting things.
And this is a view from the top, looking down on the Interstate where the wayside rest is now established and developed. Technically, I’m no longer trespassing.
But this is the place where I spent a great deal of time and one other thing happened up here…
They’re not here now but there used to be a big grove of trees right here and behind me was, right next to it was a bit of prairie grass land and right down below it…can’t see it there, but down below a little bit further there’s a little pond and a house across the pond…
I had an interesting experience on this very spot when I was in seventh grade….
My friend Brian and I were walking along up here like some of us did regularly when we had a free hour or two. And I had picked up a Bic lighter and saw this cool prairie grass and one little spot that looked like I could light just a little bit of grass and it would be cool to see what happened.
It didn’t occur to me that it was on the side of a little ditch or little gully and the fire actually went both ways….
And then I realized that just like right now, there was a breeze blowing directly toward the standing grove of pine trees. Under that pine tree grove of course, was a very large pile or stack of pine needles. If the fire were to reach any of those needles, the grove of
pine trees would more than likely explode into flame, blowing all of that ash and fire across the pond and more than likely burning down, that house over there.
The house is still there.
The pine needles never ignited.
The grass was extinguished, but it was VERY eventful that day.
Two of our other friends walked up to the site and discovered that there was a problem.
Sent one back to call the fire department…Greg and he forever gave me the nickname FireBug which I technically earned….
And Jon and I worked on putting out the fire.
The fire was put out before the fire department arrived.
I was accused of smoking, which was inaccurate.
And had the most traumatic and interesting experience of my life; destroying my shoes in the process. Reminding me to be very careful with fire please.
It was one of those experiences that’s impossible to forget.
Have you had any experiences like that?
People who have made an impression in your life?
That was the reason I stopped going to this school for a year by the way, for two years actually.
I was not real pleased with the response to that and many other things that happened at this location.
I was wondering if you’ve had any experiences like that in your life that you care to share,
maybe you haven’t shared and need to….
If there’s anything I can do to assist you, please contact me at our International Office and let me know how I can help.
This is Byron T Watts, Mr. Byron T Watts signing out again.