Blast From the Past

Friday, June 2nd, 2006

Children’s Games

5th grade bar-b-que
142 eleven year-olds
pandemonium
I am looking for one child. His name is Marco.
I yell loudly, “Marco!”
141 students respond,
“Polo!”

___

The Grownups Wanted Us Dead

Winton Elementary School in Coeur d’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: “Damn idiot kid. He was told to stay away from there. Don’t know what his problem is. When that back-brace comes off I’m tanning his stupid hide.”

The cliff wasn’t all though – there was also the playground equipment; that we weren’t told to stay away from. In fact, if a day at school didn’t sufficiently maim enough kids, our parents would send us back after school. “Get out from under my feet! Go play on the playground. I’ll call you for dinner.”

I don’t know why we never figured out that the grownups were trying to kill us. They’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.