Remembering when...

Royal Oaks gym - photo by Tyvin Rich, 1994
Royal Oaks gym -- home of sock hops and Knights' basketball.

Royal Oaks gym - photo by Tyvin Rich, 1994
Inside the old gym, now home to many birds.

Royal Oaks gym - photo by Tyvin Rich, 1994
Classic words...

Dear Classmates,

The pictures are from a visit to Madrid a few years back when I
was the guest of one of the hospitals there.  They graciously
put me up in a hotel way outside Plaza Castilla.  I got these
weird feelings as we drove out the superhigh way towards Royal
Oaks that night.  The area is built up and the memory of the
barren fields on the way out to the housing area were a thing 
of the past. 
The next afternoon I had some time on my hands and I went out
walking to see if I could find the housing area.  What had they
done with it? Was there anything left?  As I crossed over the 
super highway and went around a curve of thick cypress trees, 
the first of those quadirplex houses came into view.  Along with
it also came the rush of the memories of the bus rides out to
the gym, the b-ball games, the sock hops, that first dance with
a sweetheart...  As I walked down the gradual sloping sidwalks
it was clear these houses were all vacated but open.  I got to 
a canteen/store where some security guards were getting ready for
dinner and learned from them that no americans had lived there
since desert storm.  We apparently still "own" the property and
it is waiting for those lucky dependents in case something heats 
up with the wacky-Iraqi again. I wondered who's making the money
off this place...are our tax dollars being used for this? That
kinda pissed me off, but then a lot of the defense waste does
too.  I can tell you this property sits in the heart of the 
northern Madrid expansion and must be worth millions. Could be 
interesting to ask a congressman about it....
The pool where Gus Ciano and I took the lifeguard course is still
there but the trees are now so big and the hedges so thick I 
could not get a glimpse of the pool.  At the bottom of the hill 
were some fairly new tennis courts, an old meeting building that 
housed the snack bar, and the gym.  There were stray dogs 
wandering around. The snack bar building was pretty wrecked and 
tattered evagalistic literature from a past Sunday sermon strewn
about. The gym was falling apart with birds buzzing around in
the rafters. Why couldn't we make it into a community center for
the the local children; what a waste!  In one picture the 
admonishments written on the wall were so classic I had to record 
them. I left on foot; there were no cars, no people, and no 

Tyvin Rich

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