|The buildings having to do with the
functioning of the school set around the outer edges of the space called
the oval. At the north end of the oval was the two storied quarried rock
building called Luepp Hall. The downstairs southern part of the building
was the very large dining room where the boys and girls had their meals
together. This was in 1955. For this remembrance we must slip back to
another time and year and that would have been around 1890.
Lizzie, the captain, marched her company
from the dormitory building calling cadence, seeing to the straight lines
and orderly arrival for breakfast at an early hour. The girls already had
passed inspection at their building as to their appearance and the
tidiness of their uniforms. Their long hair was twisted up onto their head
in the neat fashion of the day. One by one the various companies marched
to their place. When all had arrived, the command was given for them to
take their seats. One part of the building was given to the girls and
another to the boys. There wasn't much of an opportunity to have
association with a boyfriend
When Lizzie's daughter attended the school,
the military regime was still in effect. However, the rigid compliance to
the marching had been relaxed. There were still the uniforms but they were
more relaxed also. They, for one thing, were of shorter skirts. To
compensate for the showing of legs the girls wore long black stockings
which they hated. The seating arrangement was the same, separation of boys
and girls and this continued on into the year 1955. This rule was rather
relaxed by this time and the boys and girls often stayed around the
building after meals until the time they were officially allowed the lawn
social every evening. As for a uniform, there was none other than the
accepted modest dress of the period.
In the year 1970 Taylor and I stood looking
out of the wide windows of the modern newly built student union building.
It now took a place between the old dining Leupp Hall and the center of
the oval. The girls strolling across the lawn were wearing short mini
skirts and tall boots.
"Taylor!" "What happens if her skirt gets
any shorter?" I laughingly asked him. We had been students together and
were easy with our acquaintance.
"Get taller boots!" Came his grinning
They both were watching the reclining
students, boy and girl, sitting up against a
tree. As if to read her thoughts Taylor
said, "Do you remember what would have happened to us if we were caught
off our feet on the lawn?"
"I surely do." "Restriction for the
remainder of the year." They both enjoyed laughing about the obvious
informal relaxed society now at the school.
Some years after the school was closed, we
had an opportunity to visit the grounds, since my brother and his wife
were the caretakers. As we walked about the oval, the buildings were so
painfully vacant. There was a rattle of some piece of metal against the
side of a building keeping a staccato beat for the ghosts of marching
children one could still feel were there.
When they were walking past the old dining
Leupp Hall I wanted to look into the building. Pulling one of the heavy
old doors open was an effort and to reward our efforts there was a rush of
wings as pigeons rushed out of the building. There was no light but I was
curious about the beautiful murals of stylistic paintings which had
adorned the walls. They were so soft and pleasant in their earth colors.
The method of art almost gave them a character like the Egyptian drawing
on the walls of tombs.
"What happened to the murals?" I was so
disappointed not to see them there."Oh, they painted over those years
ago." My sister-in-law informed me.
"Why?" "I can't believe it!" "Why would
anyone so purposely destroy anything so beautiful?"
"I suppose that is a question a lot of
people would like to have answered." My sister-in-law was a young woman
who had never attended school at Chilocco. All she and my brother could do
was keep out vandals, sweep and pick up historical documents to send to
the archives, and mow and mow and mow the vast grounds.
Gradually, and slowly the place became
again a haven for animals who were claiming their former habitat as it was
kept from them for more than one hundred years. The remains few people
after the closing who was bringing about finalization were greeted by deer
grazing on the oval in the morning. Little foxes were seen. There were
large cats too beginning to stalk the plentiful deer there. The paradise
once existing for the protection of American Indian children now became a
secure place for the many little varmints, even up to and including the
beavers who set up housekeeping at the edge of the lake.