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Carol Perkins: Memories of Recess

Previous Column: Owning Your Own Truth

By Carol Perkins

If you ask a child what his favorite part of school is, he will likely say, "RECESS!"

Trying to be quiet, sitting still, and listening is challenging for a rambunctious child. We had morning recess and afternoon recess. Even in cooler weather, we bundled in our coats and nearly knocked each other down, getting to the playground.

Someone might yell, "London Bridge," and two girls would form the bridge. We'd sing the song and lower the "bridge" until there was a winner. Drop the Handkerchief was fun, but I seldom caught the person because I couldn't run fast. I dropped it behind someone I could outrun!

The boys joined us for Red Rover.

"Red Rover, Red Rover, I dare you over." I hated that game. Even the weakest could break through my scrawny arms. When I was dared, I NEVER broke through, so I spent time going back and forth with blistered arms. I loved the swings but feared the sliding board. Climbing the ladder with other students crowding behind me gave me the jitters, but I didn't dare look down once on top. I assumed the sliding position, and down I went, landing in the dust and dirt.

I also like the merry-go-round unless one of the big boys was in charge of making it go fast, hoping to sling someone off. When the bell rang, another big boy would turn his foot backward and drag it in the dirt to stop us. We went home a group of dirty kids!

The woods were our playground as we grew older. We built playhouses a few times, but the older boys tore them down. I refused when the boys wanted us to roam the woods (we were in the fourth grade) and climb trees. I feared they'd run off and leave me, plus I didn't climb trees. Some of the braver girls followed.

At the end of recess, we lined up at the water fountain and drank from our handmade paper cups. Someone had a tin, collapsible cup that shut down like an accordion and popped up when ready for the water. I don't know who brought it, but I thought it was cool.

What was my favorite part of school? When I saw the buses lining up in front of the "Big Building!"

You can contact Carol at

This story was posted on 2022-09-01 08:43:10
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