Mrs. Case’s class got themselves into a bit of hot water that day. It was nap time, a tradition steeped in the rituals of “Kinnygarten”, as my classmate, the late Ed Bush called it. The year? 1958, Alexandria Township School. Each kid had brought his/her own blanket to school, such to repose on the rock-hard floor for 20 minutes in the middle of the day. (Did Mrs. Case really think that any of us would sleep?)
You’ll pardon me please. I know that I’ve written about this incident already in my book, MEMOIRS of a JERSEY FARM BOY, but there’s a new wrinkle now. We’ve started to die! Not to mention, township residents are convulsing over what to do with the old structure. Rent it (who would?) or tear it down. For the love of Ed Bush, is nothing sacred? I want a souvenir brick from it when they do.
Rest assured that nap time had parameters. Silence was the Golden Rule. Mrs. Case would finally get us bedded down, though us five year-olds didn’t speak of the procedure in that term. Then we’d lie there in attempted stone silence. Mrs. Case would leave the room for a few minutes. When she returned, it had REALLY better be quiet.
That one day we commenced our nod when just outside of the classroom window a cock- pheasant began to crow, Very loudly! Well, far be it from us to take this lying down. In fact, when Mrs. Case re-entered the room, there was the entire class, all 14 of us, lined up along the windows. Our faces were glued to the glass, doing our best to catch a glimpse of this glorious bird. Undoubtedly, we were in TROUBLE!
Mrs. Case’s lip quivered with an angry tremor. She was PISSED, though us five-year-olds never would have said so.
As I recollect this episode, I am struck by its innocence. There were plenty of pheasants about the Alexandria countryside in those days. There was nothing terribly malicious in my classmates’ action that day. Mrs. Case eventually got over it. It reminds me of a lyric from an old Barbara Mandrell tune. “I was country before country was cool.”