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More Trouble at School

It seems we had more snow on Vashon back in the 1950’s, that it was deeper and meant more days home from school. We skated on Fisher pond when there was nobody to tell you where there were places of thin ice. Tripping on the brush was another trick of mine. The bonfire we had on the edge of the ice was 12 feet across and nine feet high. Only a few people had regular skates, most used clamp-ons, which didn’t work when I tried them on my rubber boots. They made me wobble.

But so did the earthquake of 1949. It came in the Spring after the worst Winter ever. It was recess and I was 9 years old and in the 3rd grade. It was the noise that knocked me down or so I thought. I was on my hands and knees, others were trying to stay standing. The school chimney wobbled like a hula girl. The ground shook so hard, I thought the grade school was going to topple down on top of us. It didn’t.

If we got a substitute teacher, who was green out of school, our first mission was to confuse her with dumb questions or other sources of irritation. The day we made our sixth grade teacher cry was a crowning achievement. She put her hands over her face and just blubbered in front of the whole class. She had had enough. Why Miss Jackson invited us to her wedding, I have never understood. Presumably we behaved ourselves.

Day dreaming in the third grade that I could just flap my arms hard enough to fly out the window into the Spring sunshine gave rise to having to clean the blackboard after school. I was flying over a bushy cedar on the corner of the building when my ear started hurting. I thought I had flown into the blackberries when it was only Miss Jackson pulling it to wake me up.

One of my friends had a patch over one eye, or that’s the way it seemed. It wasn’t really a patch. He had to wear corrective glasses and one side was fogged, so it would admit only light. Sometimes, Greg’s glasses had masking tape over the fogged lense. When Greg looked at you and he was tall, he would tilt his head back, and look over the bridge of his nose, squinting underneath the fogged side of his glasses.