No batteries required
Saturday, August 11, 2018
I left “Dixie” at age 12 and I still remember the hard-packed red clay school playgrounds. If you’ve been receiving Social Security for a few years, you’ll probably recall some of the popular games during recess:
Kick ball, dodge ball, roll at the bat, mumbley peg (yes, some of the boys carried pen knives), marbles — for “keepsies” when the teacher wasn’t looking — the serious players had dirt-stained knuckles; lighting strike anywhere matches like a cowboy; fishing for camel worms with a weed stem down his hole; standing in a dust devil that whirled across the playground; catching bumble bees in a holly hock flower and chasing the girls with it; tying a June bug’s leg with a string and letting him fly in circles.
Sometimes, the principal would pass out dried peaches from a cardboard box — government-subsidized, healthy snacks. After school we’d play baseball in a vacant lot. The brand new baseballs from Woolworth’s were 25 cents each and looked good til they were hit a few times and became lopsided — I believe they were made in Haiti and filled with sawdust. The made-in-USA balls were much better quality, but eventually the hide came off and they had to be wrapped with tar tape — really difficult to see in the early evening.
The girls participated in some of the team sports with the boys, but preferred swinging and jumping rope to the boys’ games. I never saw a boy that could jump rope like a girl, and I mean that as a compliment to the girls.
They were good times and a welcome break from learning the three R’s. Hey, we also practiced penmanship, as in cursive! We had no smart phones and had to memorize the darn multiplication tables and learn how to divide. Of course, homework was laid upon our weary minds. We thought the summer would never arrive, then, finally it was “School’s out, school’s out — teacher let the mules out!”