Looking Back: San Jose Elementary Schools Play Musical Names

Over the summer I decided to stop by the Broadway Elementary School where I'd attended kindergarten and part of first grade. The school's located on Broadway Avenue off of Lincoln in downtown Willow Glen. The school looks much the same as when I went there, except it's now called River Glen, which was rather surprising, since River Glen Elementary was the name of the school located on Bird and Malone, across from River Glen Park.

It turns out that the old River Glen Elementary's name is now Ernesto Galarza Elementary School. I believe this all came about because Broadway had housed a continuation school for a while (previously known as Edison High School at 1050 N. 5th St.), and the continuation school kept the Broadway name when they moved (Broadway High School, now located next to John Muir Middle School).

Broadway Elementary

The site of my willful disregard of a crossing guard's directive one fine day in September of 1964.
Image: The site of my willful disregard of a crossing guard's directive one fine day in September of 1964. My old kindergarten room is in the immediate background.

I walked around the old Broadway Elementary grounds while I was there, and so many memories came flooding back. The crosswalk's still there, where I disregarded the crossing guard's directions telling them, "My mom showed me how to cross the street, I can do it myself!" The playground's still there, where I used to chase a girl around the back of a building, give her a kiss, then we'd run back out and around again…And over by the field, where I remember an older boy showing me his new shoes, excitedly explaining that they were called "Beatle Boots", named after a popular new music group.

My Kindergarten Classroom

kindergarten classroom

Walking around through the grounds, I finally made my way back to the kindergarten room at the entrance on Broadway Avenue. As I walked down the driveway past the room, a maintenance worker happened to appear and then unlock the door to the room. I introduced myself, explained that I'd been a student back in 1964, and then asked if I could take a couple of quick photos inside. Stepping into the room, I could not believe some fifty years later, it looked pretty much the same as when I left it that June day in 1965. The tables, the toys, the placement of the teacher's desk, and the clock; everything looked the same. I could visualize the rolling cart with the graham crackers and milk cartons for snack time, sitting on the floor with the other kids while Mrs. Trussler would read to us, finger painting, and laying on my red mat during rest time. It could have been yesterday…

Picture Day & More Musical Names

Broadway Elementary Class photo 1964-65
Image: Though I left Broadway Elementary part way through first grade, I rejoined many of the kids in this photo at Edwin Markham Junior High (now called Willow Glen Middle School). Looks like I was out the day these photos were taken.

Getting back to "musical names", my son's elementary school went through a similar name change. His school was originally Valley View Elementary School. When Hacienda Elementary closed in south San Jose, it joined Valley View to become Hacienda-Valley View, and then they eventually dropped the name Valley View to become Hacienda Environmental Science Magnet.

Further Research in the California Room