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Archival Revival

A digital exhibit highlighting the collaborative writing project between the Central Piedmont Archives and Creative Writing (ENG125).

Fall 2019: N-W

"Jimmie's"

Scuffed shoes shuffle over cracked concrete,

I take my time strolling down the street.

My destination lies ahead,

and though I’d rather be in bed,

American History begins in an hour

and punctuality is my superpower.

Central Piedmont Community College

is the place I go to get my knowledge,

but when my stomach starts to whine

Jimmie’s is the only place I dine.

Exposed brick makes up the exterior,

and their customer service makes Chick-Fil-A look inferior.

Maybe it’s nurture or my chromosomes,

but Jimmie’s is the only place I truly feel at home.

‘Til the end of time, I’ll sing their praises like a lark,

because to me that faded sign is a beacon in the dark.

Jimmie’s has so many mouth-watering dishes

that if I had a genie, I would use so many wishes.

They even have my favorite: the Southern Omelette.

Jimmie’s food is so good that I’m going into debt.

I glance at the clock, and see my hour’s almost up,

but the waitress offers coffee and I just have to grab a cup.

I stay in my seat, warm mug in my hands,

but when the cup is empty, I finally have to stand.

I pay the check and walk out the door,

but leaving just leaves me wanting more.

Scuffed shoes shuffle over cracked concrete,

I take my time strolling down the street.

But then a thought brings dimples to my cheeks.

I’ll just come back again next week.

The original Jimmie's Restaurant on Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte, NC. Today, this location is the lawn of the Overcash building. 1997. AR.0035 - The Spark.

"The Chance"

Here lies: the panning of the flag of the United States

Here lies: a college campus, CPCC, one occupied with much debate

Of whether to protest higher tuition costs or parking garage rates

Or whether to believe in larger issues like Roe v Wade

Here lies: the spreading of the Red, White, Blue

Here lies: students, faculty, and staff- with much to do

Eager to change the world, with the many skills they’re about to extend

To people who will not have the opportunity to do so or much money to spend

Opportunity is the only thing that separates anyone

The only thing that separates us is opportunity.

The original Learning Resources Center in January, 1981. The crowd is celebrating the release of the U.S. hostages in Iran; a 20' x 30' flag is furled over the top of the building. AR.0036 - Students

"Point A"

The sun shone brightly down into the courtyard. A gentle breeze carried the scent of blooming spring flowers through the breezeway. For many, tomorrow was graduation day. A small gathering of students and teachers collected at the stone bench. Each of them had a smile written on their face, but simultaneously a look of firm resolve. Centered on the bench was Mrs. Linearius palming through a stack of papers. She pulled out a pen from behind her right ear and looked up at the circle of students.

            “Well, this is it class! Today is your last day at Central Piedmont Community College.” said Mrs. Linearius with a warm smile on her face. “Your hard work and dedication have come to a culmination. Tomorrow, you will walk across the stage and receive your degree. Afterward, some of you may continue your studies at another college or some of you may enter the workforce. Whichever path you choose, it starts here - at Point A. As you know, Point A leads to Point B. Point B will be different for each one of you, however, in this moment you all share Point A. I hold here in my hands all the great work you produced this semester. Short stories, poems, sketches – all written from the passion instilled in your hearts. Each work shines in its own unique way from the creative energy you poured into it. I can see reflected in the words of each piece many of your struggles, your joys, your tragedies, and all the life experiences that led up to this day. No matter your background, your hard work has led you here and you all stand on the same ground – Point A. Here is my parting advice to you. Embrace your dreams, chase furiously after the life that you want to live. When you arrive, don’t stop at Point B – head on to point C, D, E, all the way to Z and beyond. Hold your head up high and charge forward into the front lines of life knowing full well that you are prepared for the challenge and all that awaits.”

            A look of determination shone through their eyes. The students stood up with their teachers, embraced one another, and said their goodbyes. The sun began to sink down behind the main campus building leaving only a dim light in the courtyard. The teachers returned to their classrooms and each student went on their own respective way, leaving Point A and heading on to their own Point B, wherever it may be.

English instructor, Irene Honeycutt (second from left on bench), teaches her class outside on the Central Campus quad, 1997. AR.0036 - Academics.

"Untitled" 

Thankfully, I’m close to finishing my shift at work for the day. Commuting to work has become difficult since my car broke down. I haven’t been able to get it fixed since my money has been primarily going to family, helping them through a bad situation. Not that it is comparable to their problems, but the reliance on public transportation to get to my full-time job has become difficult. What’s more, I am also a full-time student. My situation was a little bit more favorable when I made the commitment to finish my degree, but shit happens. So now, four nights out of my five-day work week, I have to add a trip to school to my daily commute. It’s not bad, its very relaxing actually. The thirty-minute bus ride allows me to collect myself and decompress after an eight-hour workday. I enjoy being a passenger and looking at the world around me, something you really can’t do when you are the driver. There isn’t much talking among the passengers, which always seemed odd to me. You load a group of people in a confined area where you have no option but to just sit, you think passing the time would be catalyst to start conversation; but not really. Most are lost in some book or vibing to some song in their headphones.

It’s the riders that aren’t normally on this commute that find the need to speak. They always have some appointment or grievance that has put them in the presence of us normal riders that makes them feel they must explain. The person they are aiming their story to usually just nods with a slight smile, before returning to their lost state. The bus doesn’t go the entire length of my trip. It goes as far as two blocks away from my school, so I have to walk the remainder of the way. Again, not a complaint, there are many people walking this route.

There is an issue that befalls the walkers along this path once you reach the sidewalk across from the street from the school. There is no crosswalk. The traffic going along the four-lane road occasionally comes to a stop when enough of us have accumulated to allow us to pass but, the timeframe of when this will happen is never guaranteed. It seems obvious with all the foot traffic in the area, the city would put one there. The six months I’ve had to make this trip, the road still lacks the white painted lines to allow us safe passage across the street. I’m surprised there hasn’t been any tragic incident or close calls. I’m sure if there had been any, there would be a crosswalk there. This only briefly halts my trip to school though; I always arrive to class on time. Hopefully it won’t be bad tonight and I can get to class with no issues. Somebody should probably say something to the school to suggest putting a crosswalk somewhere on that road before something bad happens.

Pedestrians crossing Elizabeth Avenue before a crosswalk was approved. AR.0036 - Central Campus

"Turn, Twist, Spin"

Thoughts spin through my head with no release

The mechanical rumbling of gears refuse to cease.

Tumbling like a washing machine set on high

These images flash and continue to pass by.

Spinning crazily out of my control

So desperately I wish to tell a soul.

Secrets buried deep beneath the surface

Stop making me feel so nervous!

Take these visions away from my dreams

They are so much worse than they really seem.

The past must be left behind and forgotten

Taken to the grave as we grow old and rotten.

A visual arts piece created by an unidentified Central Piedmont student, 1997. AR.0035 - The Spark.