Wednesday, January 10, 2007


As elementrary school kids we used to walk well over a mile to school. Unless it was raining walking to school was fun. We'd walk with our friends and the distance to school seemed short because we'd do all kinds of stuff to pass the time.

We'd kick rocks down the road, throw rocks at each other and have dirt clods fights which were cool until you were hit with a dirt clog with a rock in the middle of it.

We'd practice spelling tests. I remember misspelling the word "neighbor" on a practice test. One word I missed. Mr. Crumpacker, the teacher (his real name) asked the girl who lived across the street who also walked home with me to help me learn the word.

Jeanne taught me to tie my shoes. She also taught me to spell correctly the word neighbor. I always spell this word right.

Walking to and from school we'd also tell jokes, exchange riddles and sing songs.

We'd cross a set of railroad tracks put pennies and rocks on them. Expecting to find a derailed train all wrecked up the next day, we found only the bare metal tracks much the same as they were the day before. It was always puzzling to discover that the rocks and the pennies were gone and nowhere to be found. Who took them? What had happened to them, we thought.

Often we'd find cigarette packages that were empty which had been discarded out the window of a passing car. Back in the day, trash was not saved to be disposed of later. It was thrown out the car window.

If we found an empty pack of Camels we'd point to the front of it and ask an unsuspecting kid if they would rather sleep on a camel or sleep on the ground.

This question was cool because each kid we'd ask would explain why they chose one over the other. Usually they chose the ground to sleep on.

Then we'd laugh, turn the package over and on the back of the Camel pack was this giant mid eastern building that kind of looked like a hotel but really looked like the Taj Mahal.

We then said, "We wouldn't sleep on a camel or the ground! We'd go around the corner and sleep in a hotel!"

And you thought I'd get into how horrible it was to walk to school - braving sub zero weather, rain, sleet and snow just to get an elementary school education.

Walking to school was a lot of fun.

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States