When we were kids, anything that looked like an adventure was a magnet for our attention. In most cases, we weren't destructive but we did like to do new things that were different with or without a degree of risk. Let me start this story by saying that one of our friends had a Dad that was the head custodian at the school we attended. Ron had access to the keys to almost any part of the school, but what would be the fun of that. This adventure began when one of us noticed that there was a ventilator grate broken and we decided that we could probably fit through the hole.
Most of us had no idea where that hole was and no understanding that it might just go no where. We crawled, wiggled and forced our selves through that hole and low and behold found ourselves into a maize of tunnels that seemed to go on and on. It was probably the pipe chase that was under mast of the halls and branched off into places like the kitchen, the bathrooms and the locker rooms. I think the school had steam heat and at least one of the pipes was wrapped by some kind of paper over asbestos. No one knew anything about any danger there so we just kept moving through that dark confined place. Every once in a while there would be a grate over an outside vent but a lot of it was just dark tunnels that were about 5 feet wide by about 4 feet tall. Today my claustrophobia would have kept me out but back then, I was young, dumb and fearless.
Our adventure began one Sunday afternoon when no one was at school. We, by dead reckoning, worked our way through that set of tunnels into the main boiler room. The first leg of that adventure took us about 2 hours. We climbed down into the new boiler room where the Janitors had an area they stored pipes, wrenches and there was a big wooden work bench to help them repair things. On one end of the boiler room was what passed for a tornado shelter and it was a much bigger hall. You could have probably put the entire school there and had room left over.
Would we take advantage of the door to the outside? Nope, we saw that the tunnels continued into the older portion of the school and returned to the grand adventure. We entered to the new area and our adventure continued. We got to the far end of that tunnel and it went into the hallway clear down by the kindergarten room. We had passed the boiler room for the old area of the school and we doubled back there to see if it too had a door to the outside. Yep, it did and after about 4 hours of doing our imitation of spelunking, we exited that door. We had managed to completely travel under the halls of the school from one end to the other. Our hands and knees were sore from the rough concrete but I don't remember anyone having back problems. from bending over most of the afternoon. In retrospect, we should have known that the first and original part of the school would have a boiler room but none of us had ever seen any part of it. In fact it was tucked into a lower area by the Home Education room and we really had no reason to go there. The door to the outside was just a metal door with frosted glass that we passed a lot but had no reason to stand out.
I am pretty sure that no one knew of our adventure and we were never discovered. We didn't damage anything or steal anything so in our perspective. no harm no foul.
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