I am typing this from Ataturk’s coffee, which is in Mayne, right down the street from Mayne High School, where I attended for four years. I didn’t care that much for Mayne High at the time, though since then I have grown to appreciate the good education I got there. And while it was a ridiculously snobby and pretentious place, there really are a lot of worse places I could have gone.
A few years ago, they redrew the maps and a kid that was raised in my neighborhood would no longer be allowed to attend Mayne. Rather, they’d go to Eastfield High School. It has long been a goal of the district to shift students that went to Larkhill Middle School (where I also went) from Mayne High School. Mainly for class reasons. My own little town, East Oak, is actually reasonably well-to-do, and it’s doubtful that anyone would have a problem with us attending Mayne, but the people from the city of Larkhill is rife with comparative undesirables. It’s not full of NAMs, if you’re curious, but rather blue collar whites, yards with cars sitting on cinder blocks, and so on.
Back in the 90’s during the school shootings, we’d get people coming to our house to sign a petition to shift those Larkhill kids to some other school because those Larkhill kids are totally the kind that will go start shooting up schools. The petitioners didn’t seem to realize that in all likelihood they were demanding that we be shifted, too. To be honest, my parents never had a real problem with it except for one thing. The likely alternative, Southfield High School, was a four-star school (Mayne is five, thus Southfield was considered “the bad school” in the district) where we would have gotten a good education. I think I would have preferred Southfield, judging by the attitudes of the people I knew that went there.
Anyhow, over the last few years they have built a couple of new schools, and they found a place to ship Larkhill kids off to. As I mentioned, I didn’t much care for Mayne when I went there, but goodwill has been building since. Now, that goodwill is less so. Now, in my mind, the school that was too rich for my blood back then is increasingly too rich again. Because now poor people like us can’t go there anymore. The loophole that allowed people who spent $150k on their house to go to school with the rich kids has been closed. I don’t know if it’s petty to be resentful of that.
The “one thing” that made my parents not want me to go to Southfield was that Southfield is across The Bridge. So is Eastfield. It’s only five minutes further away than Mayne, but because it’s across the bridge, it’s in an area that we never go to. I am writing this from a coffee shop in Mayne because I found it because I drive through Mayne. I almost never drive around across the bridge. A place like this might exist over there, but I’d never find it. Our doctor, our dentist, my father’s job - everything is on the north side of the bridge. Partially out of habit (The Bridge used to be an inconvenient drawbridge), but also because the geography of Southfield makes places to go there take longer. Cross the bridge, end up right by the bay, where they don’t like to open up strip malls and doctor’s offices and such. So you have to cross the bridge and then drive further inland to get anywhere.
Interestingly, while strip malls won’t build near the water, both of the new high schools are by the water. Surrounded by shrimp shacks and piers and swamps. Thus making Eastfield neither particularly East (it’s the second western-most school) nor much of a “field.”