Safety & More Flag Salutes
Did I tell you I was a hall monitor in a Compton elementary school? They usually reserved the job of Safety for the toughest kids. I got to wear an ivory cotton sash that went on the diagonal from my shoulders and across my chest like I was a foreign count. And they gave me a badge that was gold and in the blue circle in the middle was the word: "Safety".
About that time, we had to say flag salutes, too. In a much smaller classroom with much smaller desks. I believe I was in 4th grade. This was about the time "under God" was ad-libbed by Ike and installed into the flag salute.
Our desks opened from the top ... and we'd store books and pencils inside. One morning we all came in to school and as we were just arriving to our classroom, and settling in, the bell had rung and some were already opening our desks to get prepared for the day .... a girl went to the teacher showing her something. And the teacher told us to close our desks and not open them! And she had us go out into the hall while she went through every desk .... to retrieve .... the little pamphlets of hate literature placed in every student's desk. We had black kids and white kids all standing in the hallway together til she was done. And this was in Compton. That seemed to be the end of that.
So eventually they found out who did it because one boy in class a few weeks later raised his arm in a Seig Heil to the flag. His dad had put him up to the prank of putting the Nazi pamphlets in the desks.
(Meanwhile ... back in Claremont .... later .....
We'd have to walk quietly to the audio-visual room by to watch an historic movie of George Washington signing the battle orders with a fountain pen .... and ....
We had to walk very quietly almost on tip-toe to get there
Creep quietly down the arcade (as they called the outdoor hall way with no walls and just metal posts to support the concrete sunbrella roof)
The doors to other classes were sometimes propped open and other students would become distracted and turn and look as we passed by ... very bad behavior for the student of French ....
The teacher would tell us to be quiet and (no longer was it "no talking, no pushing", as we were older now, just "Shhhh-hhhh-hhh!)
Afterwards, you only heard the sound of tennis shoes shuffling along the concrete path
And I would softly sing the Compton Safety Monitor song we used to sing as kids:
(but I couldn't shout it out in the proper way as this was Claremont, and it was to the Bo Diddley beat)