What I remember the most from Riverview School were the smells.
That lunchbox smell of apples and sour milk, of white glue holding together construction paper turkeys or autumn leaves in colourful displays.
When no one was looking we’d smear a strip of that glue down the inside of our forearms, letting it dry into a tight transparent ‘skin’, which we’d later make a gruesome show of peeling off our arms at recess, as though we were tearing off our own flesh.
I remember that slightly spicy smell of a freshly sharpened pencil and the choking chalk dust when it was my turn to clean the brushes on the machine in the janitor’s closet.
I remember a story about the kid who mistook pastels for chalk (an understandable error) and ruined a whole blackboard before he realized his mistake. People say he got in big, big trouble.
Mrs. Hayden, the district health nurse, had such a distinctive perfume that her presence in the school meant only one thing — needle day — which terrified me.
Nothing smelled quite like the dusty interior of a skidder tire either, or the rich playground mud of spring as the snows receded.
There isn’t much to smell in Riverview School anymore.
Yes, the same eternal stone floors still pave the yellow-tiled halls, but the Riverview School that any of us knew can never be found again.
It’s tempting to believe that a building can be a repository of what remains of some of our oldest memories. But it is not — it’s just an empty building that has served a great and noble purpose. All that remains meaningful has already been given to us in the people we’ve become, thanks to Riverview School.
— Chris Marchand