Sunday, September 18, 2011

R is for Recess

 Defined as a break from classes during the school day, RECESS was the best part of going to school when I was in the fourth grade.
My family of four moved frequently and I attended several grade schools before putting down roots in one city when I was ten. (We stayed and I remained till my early 20’s.) However, before I reached that last school, I attended part of one school year in Palmdale, California, in the early 1960’s.

We lived close to the school so I would go home for lunch, gulp down the grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup and run back to the playground, eager for the activity on the playground.

I loved tether ball, jump rope and hopscotch. I remember calling the hopscotch marker a “lager”. I don’t know why and still have no idea what they are really called, but recollect that a small heavy chain worked best for aim and sticking to the spot it landed in.

There was always a line to play tether ball, but turns came quickly. Sometimes, I was a several-time winner! I’m thinking now  that the pounding the ball received was  due to my  social and emotional frustrations.

Jumping rope was fun when several girls worked together  I could do Double Dutch, and even though I was fat, I was able to excell at  Hot Peppers! 
I still remember some of the jumping chants.

The hand-clapping to chants were also popular at that grade level.

I  played on the monkey bars but was never too adept at it.  (Do they even have monkey bars at school anymore?) Back in those days, girls were not allowed to wear pants to school, so we would wear shorts beneath our   dresses. 


 The boys like to play marbles. My brother was a grade behind me, and he had a beautiful collection of big colorful marbles.

Being an overweight kid, I did not do well in sports, but did enjoy dodge ball and the game “foursquare.”

Not all recesses were fun, and  I tended to be a loner. I do remember a time when another student and I discovered a wheelbarrow filled with white chalky powder used to draw grids in the grass. We got caught "white handed" exploring the substance. We were disciplined by standing next to the fence for the duration of recess. Being a “goody two shoes” I was devastated!

We moved midyear from that school, and I hated the class that I ended up for the last part of fourth grade, yet that is the school I finished at. There were some fun recesses there, too. Still had tether ball, hopscotch and monkey bars, but it was also the beginning of puberty and boys with cooties!

Recess activities were usually a way to get out pent up energy so to better focus in the classroom. I really should start doing that in my daily work! 

                                                                 Challenge anyone to a game of tetherball?


  1. Barb - I LLLOOVVVVVEEEDDDD tetherball! I was really good at it too. Would LOVE to challenge you to a game ;). I was also a four square fan too.

    Fun post!

  2. I remember that a small chain was the best hopscotch marker, too!

  3. Yay for recess! And I agree, I think we as adults need to be sure we don't neglect "recess". I know that, once I get momentum on a project I tend to keep going and going on it. But those breaks really do help with focus and productivity. :-)

  4. I forgot all about four square! Oh wow--the memories you brought back!! LoL. Yeah, tether ball was another fave.

    Loved this post, Barb! Such memories you brought back!! =]

  5. Oh, GOODness...haven't played four-square forEVER! Thanks for this reminder. Takes me right back to the school basement where we played day after day.

    Thumbs up for recess. Really! (Mine today includes a white mocha.) :)

  6. Recess. Now there is a great idea, now I'm thinking of how to fit into the course of my day. Fun post and trip down memory lane. Hugs!

  7. I had a love/hate relationship with recess. AS long as the weather was good I loved it. :)
    I wrote stories in my head while swinging.

  8. I know that you'd win at tetherball, but I might beat you at hopscotch. I liked playing catcher to my best friend, Bea's pitching. I didn't always connect when I swung the bat, but when I did watch out, the ball would fly! Love your piece, Barbie! Miss you on Wenesdays too!

  9. I remember 4 square. LOVED it! Oh, and kickball. Thanks for bringing back lots of memories:)

  10. Oh my. I just had a PTSD moment. Anything that had to do with a ball and I (except tennis) were not friendly in school. Tetherball terrified me!
    But I agree, recess is crucial for brain stimulation, especially when we're doing creative tasks!

  11. Ahhh, I have depth perception problems because of my vision issues so for me tetherball was a face smasher on a rope. ha. I was never any good at any game with a ball, and got a lot of ball face-plants, too. Four square wasn't too bad, though. I was good at hula hooping and pretty good at jump roping, too.

    Fun post!


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