Back then life was about stealing kisses under the fire escape


December 17, 2013

In the early 1950s when the crust of the earth was still cooling there weren’t many computers.

That meant there weren’t any e-mails and nobody was surfing the net or playing goofy computer games.

For the boys attending Oak Street Elementary School back then “social networking” involved trying to steal kisses from pretty Paula Davis under the school fire escape or exchanging notes with her in the classroom when our blue-haired teacher wasn’t looking.

Paula wore her hair in pigtails and had a smile that could melt ice and that came in pretty handy because nobody got more ice in the wintertime than the people who lived in Flint, Michigan.

Inclement weather or not, most of the boys at Oak Street Elementary managed to steal some kisses from Paula under the school’s fire escape at one time or another.

Back then, elementary school teachers were totally oblivious to the kiss-stealers.

What they WEREN’T totally oblivious to was the passing of notes in the classroom when we were supposed to be learning reading, writing and arithmetic.

Each teacher had her (there weren’t many male teachers back in those days) own way of dealing with the note writers.

The toughest was Miss Thompson. If she spotted a boy trying to sneak a note to a girl she snatched the note and told the boy to come to the front of the classroom and read the note. ALOUD!

That always brought snickers from the other pupils and by the time the boy was done reading the note his face was as red as beet.

Once the boys realized the teacher was intercepting their love notes to the girls they came up with all sorts of clever ways to deliver those notes.

Stuffing them inside reading books was a good ploy for awhile until teachers discovered they were doing it.

If the girl for whom the note was intended sat close to the boy who wanted to dispatch that note he would drop it as if by accident on the floor very close to her desk and she would pick it up.

But teachers, as they were in those days, soon caught on to that, too.

That left the school playground as the only way of delivering notes to classroom sweethearts.

As I recall it, all elementary school love notes back then ended in the same way – with 4 or 7 or 211 X’s at the end.

The X’s symbolized kisses and if I remember right we ended every one of our clandestine notes with tons of them.

Contact Bob at bbatz@woh.rr.com