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Carol Perkins: The Line

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By Carol Perkins

I drove by the elementary school around one-thirty in the afternoon and wondered what was happening inside that would draw so many vehicles. The line from the front door snaked its way around the board of education offices, the Ralph Reece baseball field, and to the main highway. What I couldn't see at the time was a secondary line from the old blue gym, through the back parking lot of the board of education intersecting with the main line. What was happening?

When I mentioned this is someone, she laughed. "That's the pickup line."

"Picking up kids at one in the afternoon?" I asked.

"No, getting in line to pick them up at the end of the day. They start lining up around one or one-thirty."

I was amazed that adults would wait in a vehicle for over an hour to pick up an elementary child. Those who were first in line sat for much longer. How do they pass the time? Read a book? Play games on the phone? Take a nap? Listen to a podcast? Would I have done this for my children or grandchildren?

Our temporary library is now located at the back of the old elementary school. One day I parked on the hillside beside the door. The new elementary school is nearby. When I came out, the secondary line wrapped around the parking lot and down to the creek, trapping me within the lines. I motioned to a lady that I was going to ease my car out between her and the next car, but I think she thought I was going to break line, so she gave me a look. Instead, I pulled up, turned around, and wormed out without disturbing the system.

I realized after talking to a friend that many of those in line are grandmothers. I can't imagine anyone "back in the day" waiting in line for over an hour. Let's face it; we live in an age where we don't want kids (especially our grandchildren) to be inconvenienced, and it's all our fault! We are a generation of enablers.

You can contact Carol at

This story was posted on 2021-10-01 15:03:06
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