By Cindy Lane
SUN STAFF WRITERS
HOLMES BEACH Craig Meldahl remembers when his
daughter and her friends would swing around the poles
up and down the breezeway at Anna Maria Elementary School.
It was 33 years ago, but the memory is as vivid as the
colorful cubbies that were auctioned Saturday at the
school, which is scheduled to be demolished this month.
Meldahl and his wife, Cathy, from Longboat Key, came
to the auction with their daughter, Sheri Bowland, and
her husband and four children, who were visiting from
" "I remember a limb on a tree we used to
hang on," said Bowland, who started kindergarten
at the school in 1973. "Its gone, though."
The pole wasnt on the auction list, which included
everything else from the cafeteria sink to child-sized
potties. Meldahl sauntered off to find out whether he
could buy one of the poles for old times sake.
Maybe its the holidays, "auld lang syne"
Whatever it was, the auction drew a great crowd and
raise around $9,500, after expenses, for the school
to spend on items for its new campus, according to Principal
It was a real reunion for teachers aide Judy Arnold,
who has worked at the school for nearly 30 years and
was patrolling the hallways Saturday morning.
"I remember lots of faces," she said, but
the names dont come easily. That is, until they
stop her, calling her by name, and remind her.
"Its like old home week," she said.
Max Hennig of Anna Maria Island had his eye on a landscaping
brick. Not all of them, like another prospective buyer
who wanted to use them to pave his driveway. Just one,
as a memento.
His son, Jules, 5, is in kindergarten at the school.
He got a ruler, but had his sights set higher
on the pirate jungle gym in the playground.
Robert Hicks, 50, attended Anna Maria Elementary School
four decades ago. He bought a water fountain, not because
of any fond memories it just seemed like a good
way for his son, Dalton, and his friends to get a quick
drink while theyre playing outside without having
to come in the house. He also said he was planning to
buy some chairs and tables to donate to a pre-school.
Auctioneer and pied piper Mike Holzman led dozens of
bidders up and down the breezeways, selling desks, paper
cutters, video cameras, chalkboards, even a coat of
"Someone has taken the top off this pencil sharpener,"
he said in his best scolding teachers voice as
he paused before auctioning it off. "Keep your
Just ahead of Holzmans approaching hordes, a frantic
mother and son rummaged around a cluttered classroom,
finally unearthing his project on Japan before it becomes
rubble in the demolition.
Across the hall, a teacher hurriedly took down her students
artwork before the auctioneer got to her classroom.
"I dont think anybody would bid on this,
but you never know," she said as she stashed the
masterpieces in a safe place.
In the corner of the room, a stack of red and gold plastic
chairs made Marion Robles do a double take.
"Im discouraged that theyre selling
good chairs," said Robles, whose grandson attends
Blaine Jenefsky, who just started school in the brand
new building behind the old school, explained.
"They just want everything to be new."
Hayes said Monday that she was happy to see a lot of
things being purchase to be put to good use elsewhere.
We sold a lot of furniture and a lot of it went
to facilities that couldnt afford new, she
said. One churc bought items that went to an orphanzage.
Hayes said the leftovers were sent to the Anna Maria
Island Community Center to see what it could use and
what was left would be sent to Mississippi for school
in areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina to use in rebuilding.