Nostalgia II

26 April, 2011
Rat Fink

(If you’re interested, here’s Nostalgia I, complete with awesome comments from RtB fiends.)

Do you find yourself getting melancholy about things that have passed into obscurity? Yesterday — and I don’t know why — I had a major attack of it.

Maybe it had something to do with fifth grade. In choir yesterday, I pulled out a song for the fun of it. “Pinball Wizard,” by The Who. Out of 40-some 10- and 11-year-olds, only a handful knew what a pinball machine was, so I got to describe it for them, which was surprisingly challenging. HA

As is my custom, if there are weird lyrics in a tune, we read through the text and define anything that needs clarification. Had my hands full with Pinball Wizard:

  • Soho, Brighton
  • Bumpers
  • Always gets a replay
  • Bally table king
  • Crazy flippin’ fingers

The cool thing about 5th graders is that they’re still somewhat impressionable. That is to say, they don’t know it all yet. :-) We had a nice discussion. It was fun watching them wrap their brains around it.

It got me thinking about lots of other bygone issues, especially after I read this in the Columbus Dispatch. As if book knowledge on a subject is the prime indicator of teaching ability…good lord, people. Anyway, I thought about (*wince*) when I was in school — when things were different, to wit:

  • Teachers and administrators didn’t field daily calls from parents, blaming their child’s bad grade/bad behavior on the school.
  • It wasn’t unusual for a smart-mouthed kid to be slammed up against a locker by a teacher once in awhile. It served as a fantastic deterrent.
  • Kids. Just. Didn’t. Talk back to teachers. Regardless of how we felt about Mr. Smalley, we never sassed him. Nobody did. We respected him as an adult.
  • If I had sassed Mr. Smalley, I could only imagine the horrifying fate that awaited me at home, after my parents found out.
  • Writing classes were compulsory at the high school level.
  • “Latch key kids” were the exception.

I know, I know. Times change, so get on the train or it’ll  leave without you. But I will put in writing for the first time here: I worry about the future my grandchildren will face as adults. Makes me all nostalgy for the olden days…


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26 April, 2011 10:45 am

I had a 6th grade teacher who had a reputation that inspired fear in every student. He was known to throw erasers at students not paying attention (and he was a dead-eye, lemmetellya). Then he would not allow the student to wipe away the chalk dust, forcing them to wear the ‘chalk-dust badge of shame’ for the rest of the day for all to see. He would smack the boys on the shoulder or back when he got frustrated with them – never the girls – although he would get in your face if you deserved it, no matter which… Read more »

30 April, 2011 7:06 pm

Jaxly, I love it that you are sharing the oldies with your choir. Sarah told me the Pinball Wizard tale, including informing me that she DID in fact know that song when you asked the class. Gotta be due to her Mom’s good taste in music! Plus a little Rock Band thrown in for good measure!