The town of Yorktown, Indiana, sits neatly on Indiana State Highway 32 in beautiful Delaware County. Located approximately six or seven miles west of the heart of Muncie, the heart of Yorktown is situated on the south side of the junction of the majestic Buck Creek and the raging White River.
The town proper was still quite small when our family moved there in 1968. Beverly Heights was considered to be a part of the town at the time even though it had not yet been annexed. The population of Yorktown in the late ‘60s was around 1,600 residents. The remainder of the township was almost entirely farmland.
During this period Yorktown had a thriving downtown. There were banks, churches, a machine shop, Bonnet’s corner drugstore, restaurants, a dry cleaner, Rinker’s Jewelry, Wilhoit’s appliance store, a post office, a grocery store, barber shops, a Dairy Queen, a few full service gas stations, a volunteer fire department, and two taverns. And that’s just what I remember from my childhood.
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Located within a stone’s throw from beautiful downtown Yorktown sat Yorktown Elementary School, my home away from home the first six years of my educational path. My circle of friends expanded tenfold during my first day of kindergarten in 1968. Of the twenty-four students in that morning class, fourteen of us graduated together. It was there in that classroom where I met my first crush – our lovely teacher, Mrs. Bauer. Sadly, ours was a May-December-of-next-year romance that was never meant to be.
The elementary school was attached to the next stage of my educational path, Yorktown Middle School. The final stage of the path, Yorktown High School, was located on the north side of the White River. The high school became a familiar sight as our family often drove past it on our way to and from Grandma and Granddad Studebaker’s house. Mom and Dad assured me several times that, yes, I would one day be a student in the halls of that high school. “It’ll be here before you know it” was an oft-heard refrain of Dad’s. At the tender age of five, that one day seemed impossibly far away.
There was another school building just north of the high school – Pleasant View Elementary. The school held zero interest for me. I never questioned why it was there. For six years I lived with the assumption that those kids would move on to Pleasant View Middle School and then on to Pleasant View High School. Just where these schools were located was an unknown to me and I really didn’t care either.
Everything that I thought I knew about the mysterious Pleasant View school system came crashing down around me on our first day of sixth grade at Yorktown Middle School. There were dozens upon dozens of new faces roaming the halls of YMS. Several of the boys were known to me from four years of playing baseball in the Junior Athletic Association. Down the hallway was Brian, the kid I got my first hit off of in second grade. Over there were Mike and Steve, the first baseman and an outfielder from our championship team in fourth grade. And over there was Pat, our second baseman and a pitcher from just the previous summer. I remembered them telling me at the time that they went to school at Pleasant View. It never dawned on me, though, that we would end up in the same middle school together.
The girls from Pleasant View were completely new to me. They were also a blessing. Some of the girls I grew up with in elementary school eventually developed for me the same type of scorn that Lucy Van Pelt held for Charlie Brown, a scorn that carried over for a time in middle school. Not all of the girls at YES felt that way, thankfully. For the life of me, I could never figure out why the few who did, felt the way they did.
Foolishly, I let the Lucys get to me. I spent too much time worrying about them and why they didn’t like me rather than taking the time to get to know the ones who treated me nicely.
The girls from Pleasant View knew nothing about the Lucys’ attitude. Instead, they were all very nice and friendly towards me. It felt good to be treated with kindness again. The Lucys were no longer a major concern.