Categorized | Opinion

Gone But Don’t Forget

By Otis Griffin
otis-griffin-poseWhen was the last time you sat around reminiscing about yo’ ole school days?  Why the kids would cut their eyes like you just stepped off an alien ship coming out of a kudzu patch.  Most of the old schools in our era have been demolished (that’s city for torn down) or additions so they don’t even resemble the treasured monuments. Also most have been renamed to further take away our proud Southern heritage.
Friends, the old half-moon driveway that circled in front of Rosemark University no longer exists.  Removed are boys and girls entrances engraved in granite.  Mrs. Ricks allowed us to enter same door, however the girls paraded first and usually stuck out their tongue when she wasn’t watching and teased us.  Yep!  Future sweet little ladies.
The most important class was our famous recess.  The large playground was actually a football field with the basketball court in one corner and the baseball diamond on the lower section.  The All American monkey bars were right at the edge of the field next to the school building.  Our recess teacher could sit and observe like a hawk after a rabbit.
The football field was developed by our coach, Mr. Simpson with assistance from the community pillars and Bud noted the contour sloped down hill.  Our original goal posts were light poles and cross bars were perfectly trimmed tree limbs.  We had the smartest teachers in the world and I think most graduated from the FBI as they knew what you were thinking and planning before you did it.  Did you ever wonder how in the world could Mrs. Ricks or Mrs. Battle periscope us in so many directions?  Our parents knew too.  We had about as much chance as a June bug in a boarded up hen house.
If Mrs. Douglas was serving as warden occasionally she would let us play softball, but she split the sides evenly and made us let the little gals play so it wasn’t one sided.  Back then some girls meaner and better than us were called tom-boys.  I can remember when walking home after school if the other team won, well June, Mary Ellen and Nancy would tease Paul, Lynn and I about how bad they beat us.  We knew better than to start something ’cause June and Nancy would whoop us and the fight was not fair.
Neighbor, years later, the older boys started requesting the older girls on their teams.  Why?  Seems like admiration had set in or some sparking was going on.  Don’t forget some of the mean old boys would actually pull these sweet, innocent, little gals’ pigtails.  For no reason at all.  Was that the first step in ‘spooning’ that would actually take place in a few years?  Or maybe just a natural reaction!
Beloved, do you believe in miracles?  How in the world did the gum trees survive with all the initials hacked in the bark?  I guess everybody changed loves about every week or so.  Even the ones that didn’t love someone would temporarily fall in love, just so their initials would be like the rest of the class.
I never saw Cupid in person, only pictures.  But, he blasted me a few thousand times.  He shot me through the heart with a Red Oak arrow and sometimes with a butcher knife if things didn’t work out.  Didja’ every wonder why that little ‘fella’ didn’t have on any clothes?  The boy orta’ put on some Tuf-Nut overalls and some Red Goose brogan work shoes.  Mrs. Douglas probably would have let him borrowed a red flannel shirt.  Mr. Simpson could loan him a ball cap.  Nope, just the bow and his quiver of arrows, just like Little (Bubba) Beaver tracking Red Ryder.  I’ll bet his Momma was proud of Cupid running around naked like that.   I doubt if any new schools even have trees and I know it is against the law to carve on them.  Things have changed, but for the better?  Ask yo’ gone school country heart!
Out With Old Cherished Memories And In With…?…GLORY!

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