Flaskaland
Sunday, September 22, 2013
  The Flag Salute at School
And so did I, had a sense of humor at least.  Because I would tell Frank the story of flag salutes at school.  Where the flag salute was read aloud, and not just by a teacher at the front of the room any more, as this was a fancy Claremont High School now.

There were small loud speakers installed in each room, from whence various commands would be issued ... "Required Attendance at School Assembly" or every morning the flag salute would drone out through the speaker.

We'd sit in class in the new campus of the new high school with specially designed windows, high up in the wall, so you couldn't look out the window any more and just concentrate on what the teacher was saying and also so we would evade being injured by flying glass in the event of the shock wave from some nuclear catastrophe. And that last part was the architect's actual intent when pushing to have his feature installed in public buildings around town, and I guess he had clout at the time as those same windows are in the new Library in Claremont, too. 

Anyway, they'd recruit kids from the drama class to read the flag salute back in 1961 at the new new windowless rooms on the new campus .  One fellow in particular .... you could tell he didn't like to do that, even though he was an audio visual helper and could set up the projector and movies for the required viewing in the AV department.

When drafted for flag salute duties, he'd turn on the microphone and announce the flag salute, and we would rise.  Then he would stall, and stand there for more than a few minutes wondering what the hey?  During which time all you'd hear were the sound of papers rustling amplified through the microphone and soon the sound of the door opening and a teacher saying, "Michael!"

Michael was one of the kids in drama and he usually acted up, as actors are sometimes wont to do.

In the mornings, for the early arrivals to school, he would stealthily play a record across the loud speakers during home room before the teachers arrived.

One day, he read the flag salute aloud and stumbled through the words like a near-illiterate child trying to learn to read.  

And he would also stick in funny lead-ins to the flag salute ... which the teachers would warn him about, and they went back and forth like this long enough so that one time he completely rebelled.

On that fateful day, he called the children to "Stand for the flag salute."

And we all stood there with hands clasped over our hearts waiting for him to begin reading the flag salute, so we could recite along in unison.

We stood there hands over heart when he said "Achtung, achtung!"

This command went out over the tinny loudspeaker directly into every classroom simultaneously as all the kids were waiting for the first line of the flag salute.

Which got him in a lot of trouble.  I mean, I think he was expelled.

Frank would hear those stories from me about what I did in school that day or what happened at school.  Or I'd save them up for the next time I might happen to see him.  

I could almost never win against that administration in school.  They ran the place very strictly, with this big aura around it that was very right wing at the time, so the place felt like a Nazi obedience factory.

I'd unknowingly wear skirts that were a quarter inch too short, and my skirts would be measured by a teacher with a ruler while I stood on the stairs ... and I'd have to go into the vice principal's office and explain why I couldn't be sent home to change (because I lived miles away and we only had one car in the family, and my sister was at work with her car) .. though one time they did send me home, where I remained for the day.  I wore a black pleated skirt at the time, and I wore it five or six times to school, but I was caught twice.  So they'd tell us how to dress, how to do everything, how to think, try to mold our minds, and  .... I always seemed to be noticed when I wavered from the path of the straight, virtuous, and true minded of the white buckskin shoe set.  Even though I was wearing white buckskin shoes that had real functioning little ivy league buckles on the heel in an attempt to fit in so I wouldn't be noticed.

Or I'd make the mistake at school of talking in home room before class started, and this was a Republican town, and I'd be talking with the boys who played tennis, participated in the science fairs (of course) and over-achieved in other ways because I'd be required to sit at that table, so I'd attempt to bring up the morning newspaper as light conversation, and I'd say, "Richard Nixon!  What a .... "  and Johnny would agree with me, which amazed me no end, and he'd say, "Richard Nixon is a fool!" At which point the home room teacher who taught my Latin class would swoop over and scold us, angry and shake his finger at us and yell in a loud voice, and remind us to say "I think .... " to own our opinions and not just hurl insults, so we learned to say "I think Richard Nixon is a fool"  as that was ok to say, at least in certain circles even in the school.  And so did Frank, and all of us in my family think Richard Nixon was a fool, so I could tell that story at home.





 




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Compiling the best online articles about music so there will be more of both in the future. In periods of drought, the reader will be innundated by my own blogs on the matters.

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