Colonel Van Horn, are you proud of the high school that bears your name at the corner of Arlington and Truman Road? Somewhere is there the spirit of the man who wouldn’t let Van Horn School just become a memory.

Colonel Van Horn, are you proud of the high school that bears your name at the corner of Arlington and Truman Road? Somewhere is there the spirit of the man who wouldn’t let Van Horn School just become a memory.

Let’s go back to 1955. I was walking up to the door of this very modern structure. One of my friends came running out of the door; we almost collided. She said, “You must see the auditorium, it’s beautiful! There’s even a little theater.” She squealed and we laughed. Everything was so modern and up to date, I thought we were getting only the best. I heard the building had cost $3.5 million. I thought how plain it looked outside, a porch with a flat roof and windows with lots of metal as far as I could see.

I walked inside. The glassed in library caught my eye. I was impressed by the inside. I wondered why there wasn’t more detail to the front.

The office staff was congenial. I enrolled. I toured the school with a friend. The auditorium was huge and very modern. It was beautiful. I questioned why the hall floors were painted red. In front of the library the floor was marble. I walked the red floors as if they were a red carpet from the little theater to the library and then the beautiful modern auditorium; I was impressed.

I wasn’t surprised at anything I saw from there on. The swimming pool was big and super, and there was a girls and boys gym! Thinking I had seen it all, I was told I should see the patio, and the two home economics departments. Wow! I had never seen a school to compare with Van Horn.

I had lived about six blocks from Independence Senior High School, William Chrisman, and attended Independence Junior High School two years before. When our home in Independence burned, my family relocated to Kansas City. Boundary lines of the school districts and schools have their rules. The next block was Independence. I had a lot further to walk back and forth to Van Horn, but I was lighter than air as I skipped along the way seeing myself as a student there.

It’s 2011, and nothing stays the same. Van Horn has a beautiful new facade. I wrote many stories on Van Horn years ago. I wrote about my friends and the wonderful teachers, musical concerts and club meetings, not to mention ball games. The best memories I have are of the people who I rubbed elbows with and my teachers.

It’s been said the past always looks great because it’s gone. Bitter sweet, are these memories, they say. Whenever I see the red and gray, I think, I helped select those colors. Best of all, I was there for the grand opening. Such memories!