A wide staircase leading up to the second floor, with a sign in gorgeous marble lettering above it: “ИСКУССТВО ПРИНАДЛЕЖИТ НАРОДУ” (art belongs to the people).
The odd orange tint of the parquet floors - our knees were always stained that color as well.
Cottonwood fluff floating outside the classroom window in May.
The images preserved in my memory from the elementary school years are sharper and more colorful than the actual photographs I have from that time. One's preschool years do not usually comprise sitting still for seemingly interminable stretches of time while trying to follow linear thought patterns, so once in school, it is no wonder the child’s mind is given to investigating the most peculiar perspectives and the tiniest cracks of that constraining environment.
The building that housed my school in Moscow was first mentioned in city records at the beginning of 18th century. My son’s school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan is a mere centenarian, but its aura is well saturated with the spirits of the children who have been coming there since 1899 (J.D. Salinger among them). The place has also left innumerable imprints on those children’s minds, and it would be wondrous to be able to see what they are.