Sharing some fond memories of Central School
The Way I See It
by DON WEST
When I was in the second grade at Central School, Moby Miller pushed me off the slide and broke my right arm. He is still trying to make up with me for that dastardly deed, but I don’t forgive and forget that easily. He calls me from time to time to compliment me on one of my columns and I appreciate his thoughts, but I am hereby notifying you, Moby, that I can’t be bought that easily. You still owe me a drink and I will collect one day.
I would have run home that day and tattled on Moby, but Mom would have punished me for staying on the playgrounds after school. I was always instructed to come straight home after school and not to lollygag along the way, but I just couldn’t resist the new tall slide that had been installed on the playground that year. It was so popular that one had to stand in line during recess to get a run down the slide, so I was lucky to get one slide per recess. That day, I decided to challenge the wrath of my mother to get in some extra runs, but didn’t realize that some of the older (much older) kids had the same idea. I think, besides Moby, there was “Red” Pat Cooper and one or two others and they were fourth graders and “kings of the campus”, so I should have known that I was treading on dangerous waters. Anyway, I was sliding down when Moby decided he was going to run up the slide and we met in the middle. Since I wouldn’t give up my position, he just pushed me off and I ended up at Dr. Kramer’s office to be fitted for my new arm decoration. Good thing I was left-handed, so I didn’t fall behind in my studies. Of course, it did hinder my two best subjects a bit, lunch room and recess.
Funny how we can remember an incident from childhood (and that one took place over 60 years ago), but most days I can’t remember what I had for breakfast. I seem to remember many events at Central School, but maybe it was because we are young and impressionable at those ages. I remember my first trip to Ms. Schaffer’s office and that yardstick she laid on her desk just before she started scolding me for misbehavior. I never took my eyes off that stick, just in case I needed to make a run for it. I remember some great teachers, and maybe one or two who didn’t light up my life, but probably lit up other parts of me. I remember being forced to eat everything on my tray at lunchtime and a few kids throwing up when forced to eat spinach or something else that wasn’t their favorite. I remember games of “run across” between the two large oak trees, and games of dodge ball, tag and football. I remember noticing girls, other than my sister, for the first time, and staying after school under the tutelage of Mrs. Harris for another rule infraction. I was probably paying attention to the girls.
I remember the story of one of my classmates whose job it was to lean out the window and take down the flag near the close of the school day. One day he came walking in the room in the middle of class and when asked, told that he had fallen out the window while reeling in the flag and apparently no one noticed. I remember the story of one little girl “peeing” her pants while sitting in her desk, and one of the boys was happy to announce, “Ammhhh, look what she’s doing.”
I remember a teacher, Miss Elisor, who taught me in second grade, but the following year came back as Mrs. Dupree, and I couldn’t understand why she changed her name.
Maybe this has all been triggered by our recent 50th class reunion and the memorial this week of another classmate who has passed on. But though we grieve the loss, I have chosen to recall the fun times, the good memories and to poke fun at good friends. Just remember, Moby, I don’t drink the cheap stuff. It’s gonna cost you.
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