It was second grade, so I was 8 or 9 years old. My teacher was Mrs. Nolan – she was one of those teachers that everyone said was mean, but she really wasn’t. Our classroom was on the bottom floor at Trautwein Elementary School. All the second graders – 4 or 5 classes – would have recess together two or three times a day. The playground, “blacktop” and mulch, was filled with shrieks of laughter and the squeak of swings going back and forth. On a hot day, any legs in shorts or a skirt was guaranteed a good searing on the slide, and, if you played on any of the bars, your hands would be darkened with rust and smell like metal. Balls bounced with games of foursquare. Girls could be heard chanting the favorite jump rope rhymes of the day – “Cinderella, dressed in yella’, went upstairs to kiss a fella’! Made a mistake, kissed a snake, how many doctors did it take? 1…2…3…4…” – until their friend stumbled, then fits of giggles would erupt.
Even with all the equipment and toys, the game we all loved in second grade was chase. The boys chased the girls; the girls chased the boys.
“Jenny, get Jeff! Watch out, Mariann, Anthony’s coming!! Jeremy’s coming, Kelly, run!!”
There was not a “goal” other than to run and have fun. Lots of skinned knees and scraped elbows from falls, and many bumped heads due to abrupt stops. I remember that I fell and lost one of my front, bottom, baby teeth during a game of chase. Although we loved the game, the recess aides did not!
The aides finally were driven crazy enough, and everyone got in trouble! During of our recess times, the boys went to one room, and the girls were in my classroom. With our fat, red pencils and wide-lined penmanship paper, we had to write “I will not chase the boys on the playground” what seemed like 50 times. I can still picture the perfectly printed words in white chalk on the green chalkboard for all of us to copy.
Did we play chase after that? I have no idea!!