King's Eye Land: Elementary school visit sparks nostalgia

While helping a friend's wife set up her elementary school classroom recently, I was overwhelmed with feelings of nostalgia, reminiscence and gut-wrenching joy.

As a sensitive man who cares unconditionally about others and contemplates the wonders of life at least once an hour, I couldn't help but let warm, sticky memories of elementary school ooze over me.

How I remember the long days of lessons intertwined with music, art, gym class and trips to the library. The trips to the library were the ones I treasured most, despite the evil librarian (all librarians are evil, you know).

Beyond these events, there was so much more to elementary school. Lest we forget these bits of childhood, here are some reminders.

Scissors: These always came in handy for snipping construction paper, electrical wire and the hair of nearby girls. Be careful, for scissors are sharp. Better ask Mom for help.

Elmer's Glue: "Do not eat this," the adults always said. Foolish authoritarians. The more we were encouraged not to eat it, the hungrier we became. "Use it sparingly, because you only get one bottle per year. After that, you'll have to use the smelly kind the teacher's aide made at home." The warnings were too late, for our hunger was insatiable.

Rubber cement: "Do not 'huff' the rubber cement," they said. The first thing we did was stick our noses in the jars. Did they not know the temptation sparked by their feeble warnings?

Ken doll: This wasn't exactly in the "school supplies" category. You really only needed this to show people on the dolly where the bad man touched you. At my school, this never happened, but at other schools, they should have the entire Barbie collection just for this purpose. What a great world in which to raise children.

Lice checks: Lined up like usual suspects, the stinky kids leaned against the wall outside the nurse's office. Inside, the nurse would scrape a lead pencil through scalp after scalp in search of the little white bugs the clean kids feared most. By the end of the day, when a lice breakout was confirmed, we were all lined up for the pencil examination. Fie on you, stinky kids. Your gypsy ways doomed us all.

Mr. Yuck stickers: Mr. Yuck is still your friend after all these years. Take these stickers home and put them on dangerous household chemicals such as bleach, toilet cleaner and Daddy's stash. This way, little ones will know what to eat first.

Scabies: Nobody ever accused anyone of having scabies until the presentation about scabies. Nobody knew what scabies were. Luckily, through the power of repression, I still don't know. But I bet the stinky kids had them. Fie on you, stinky kids.

Passwords: Remember, when a stranger pulls up and tells you that your mommy has been hurt in an accident and he's there to pick you up, you need to ask him for the password. Pick a word you can easily remember, such as "polyp," "goiter," or "Bob Barker."

Of course, everyone's elementary school memories are different, but the feeling of nostalgia is there, washing over us like a gooey wave of Elmer's Glue running down our scalps. Feel its warmth as you defy authoritarians and ridicule stinky kids.

Someone pass the rubber cement.

Write to John at kingseyeland@bsu.edu


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