Friday, June 2nd, 2006
5th grade bar-b-que
142 eleven year-olds
I am looking for one child. His name is Marco.
I yell loudly, “Marco!”
141 students respond,
The Grownups Wanted Us Dead
Winton Elementary School in Coeur dâ€™Alene, Idaho was built on the edge of a cliff. There was a 35-foot embankment not ten yards from the back door where I lined up every morning before fourth grade.
There was no fence. There was no barbed wire. There were no patrol dogs. THERE WERE NO CONCERNED PARENTS.
We were told to stay away from the cliff, the grownups of my childhood thought that was sufficient. If some child wandered too close and fell off, the general response was: â€œDamn idiot kid. He was told to stay away from there. Donâ€™t know what his problem is. When that back-brace comes off Iâ€™m tanning his stupid hide.â€
The cliff wasnâ€™t all though â€“ there was also the playground equipment; that we werenâ€™t told to stay away from. In fact, if a day at school didnâ€™t sufficiently maim enough kids, our parents would send us back after school. â€œGet out from under my feet! Go play on the playground. Iâ€™ll call you for dinner.â€
I donâ€™t know why we never figured out that the grownups were trying to kill us. Theyâ€™d paint us in Mercurochrome, paste band-aids on us, or brace us with splints, and push us right back out the door.
We went willingly — and called it fun.