It’s been quite some time since I’ve done an episode of, “Can I Eat My Lunch In Here?” The last one I did was in June and while this is really a popular segment here on MBIP, it’s also one that kind of shreds my nervous system. It’s always unplanned and it’s also always awkward to just march into a place of business and ask if I can eat my lunch in there. But these things must be done and so here we go again today!
I went back to my high school and did one of these a while back and today I was thinking that it might be interesting to go back to where I went to grade school for three years, which was St. Vincent’s. I went there for my last three years of grade school after my family had moved back to Peoria in 1969 after living in Louisville, Kentucky for six years. I was the “new kid” in the middle of the school year and it was a pretty awkward and horrible time for me for a few months until I finally made some friends. I haven’t been back there for years, so let’s go see if I can eat my lunch in there!
To give this episode of, “Can I Eat My Lunch In Here?” a sense of throwback realism, I had my dad take me to school, just like back in the old days! And he and my mom even packed me a brown bag school lunch with my name on it! And of course I don’t want to go, but my dad kicked me out of the passenger seat and sent me on my way, just like he used to do decades ago! Memories...
And speaking of memories, here we are at St. Vincent’s grade school. I feel just as nervous as I did back in 1969 when I was the new kid coming here to school. It took me a few months to fit in here...well, I don’t know if I’ve ever really fit in anywhere, but eventually I made some friends, but it was pretty awkward being the new kid back then. I walked into the school office and my stomach kind of did a back flip walking in there, because back in the day, you only walked in there if you were in some sort of trouble and very often for me that was the case. I have to tell you, that the office seemed a lot friendlier now and the woman I talked to was really nice and while she was just a tad confused about what I wanted to do, which is par for the course when I do one of these, she told me that the principal wasn’t in school and that I really needed to get permission from her to do it. Shot down at my old alma mater! She told me I could call and set up a time to do it later, but that kind of wrecks the whole spontaneity in doing this. Time to improvise! I walked outside and looked across the street and saw...
Another school, Richwoods High School! A lot of my friends went to Richwoods and I haven’t been in there for over 40 years! The sign says, “Welcome,” maybe I can eat my lunch in there! And yeah, there’s also the dreaded double exclamation marks on the sign, but let’s ignore that and see if I can eat my lunch in this school!
Let’s go in and see what happens here!
I wandered for a bit and then I found this gentleman in his office and as luck would have it, he’s the Principal here! I introduced myself and he told me his name is Brett Elliott and he seemed really understanding of my plight, maybe a little too understanding, but then I learned who his father is...
Brett’s father is Royce Elliott! No wonder he’s not too thrown by my request, if he grew up with Royce, he must have a high threshold for craziness! I knew Royce and he was a great guy and it’s really cool to be meeting his son! For those of you that don’t know or remember Royce, he was one of Peoria’s funniest comedians, sadly he’s not with us anymore, but you can read about him here. After Brett and I exchanged some stories about his dad, he agreed to let me eat my lunch in the school cafeteria!
Here we are in Richwood’s lunchroom, let’s see what my parents packed me for lunch! I’ve got a turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, barbecue potato chips and just like in the days when WMBD broadcaster, Bob Carlton did a morning show complete with the days school lunches (wow, I’m really showing my age here), I got a cookie! Brett took a photo of me enjoying my lunch in the Richwood’s lunch room. All the kids are in classes and I asked Brett if he could give us a little tour after I ate and he agreed, so here we go!
The first stop was the gym/basketball court and this is really impressive. I went to a few games here in high school so this brings back a lot of memories. It’s really a nice, state of the art basketball court!
The tour continued to the trophy room over here. Lot’s of impressive trophy’s and plaques on display here as well as two jersey’s from a couple of well known football players, Sherrick McManis and Eddie Sutter. McManis currently plays for the Chicago Bears and Sutter went on to play for five NFL teams in his career!
Next stop was the auditorium where I got up and took a shot from stage left!
Here’s the music room and after I assaulted Brett with my musical stylings, he had to get going to an appointment, but said I could take some pictures up in the front hallway before I left for the day. Thanks to Brett for the tour and it was great to meet him and share some memories of his late and great dad, Royce Elliott!
Here’s some photos of sports teams from the past here on display in the front hallway of Richwoods High School.
I saw this on the way out and Richwoods was named one of the best high schools in the U.S. last year by U.S. News and World Report, very impressive!
Brett told me that the slogan for Richwoods is, “The Standard of Excellence” and they certainly lived up to that today! Thanks to Brett for letting me eat my lunch in Richwoods cafeteria and for the fun tour! We’ll see you all tomorrow!