Playing Hooky.

My old stomping grounds. Source: Google Maps

One of the downsides of working from home is there’s no way to get away from it. If I take a break, or even a vacation, my work desk is right there in the spare bedroom snickering at me. In fact it’s understood that from now on, even when we all go back to the office and resume whatever normal is, if there’s bad weather in the forecast or the office will have to be closed for any reason we’ll just take our laptops home.

I was feeling unusually nostalgic the other day and on my lunch break decided to look up my old primary school—the one I went to from kindergarten through sixth grade, and as I was looking at it on Google Maps I discovered there’s a public park that I never knew about right next to the school. And it opened in 1979. How did I never hear about this? There was a long fence that ran all around the school so we wouldn’t wander out into the street in front of the school but behind the school there were trees. It looked like a dense forest that went on forever, and I wanted so badly to explore that forest, to see how far it went and what secrets it held.

Well, apparently its biggest secret was that it only goes back about fifty feet before it opens up into a public park with a playground.

The funny thing is there was one day when I was in fourth grade that a couple of my friends tried to convince me to play hooky after lunch. And, sure, The Little Rascals made it seem appealing, but I couldn’t figure out what the point would be for us. First of all I didn’t think we could get away with it. Our class was in one of the long trailers called “portables” that stood between the main school building and the playground. It was long but narrow and I’m pretty sure the sudden disappearance of three of us would be noticed immediately. Also the school was, and still is, in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. There wasn’t anything within walking distance and even if there were none of us had any money. And even if we did go anywhere how were we supposed to get back home?

I realize now we could have slipped past the fence and gone over to Granbery Park. I’d have finally gotten the chance to explore those woods which would take up, well, about five minutes, and instead of playing on our regular school playground we could play on the park’s slightly different playground, which would have taken up another ten minutes. And I seriously doubt we could slip back into class without being noticed.

At least now I know and one of these days I’m going to take a day off from work and go over there to see what I missed. It’ll be an official vacation day. I mean, I could play hooky, but what would be the point?

Facebook Comments

10 Comments

  1. markbialczak

    Yes, Chris, I would have said no to hooky in fourth grade for sure. No courage yet. But you remind me of the time I was a sophomore in high school and my friend with a driver’s license and car convinced me it would be a good idea for us to eat lunch at the pizza place in the nearby joint a couple miles from our high school instead of the cafeteria. If we took longer than our 45 minutes, well, too bad! While we were sitting in the store front enjoying our slices, we should waltz in but my mother! What, did she have some sort of Mom radar?! This was decades before smart phones and tracking mind you!! As I blanched but tried to act cool, she walked right up to me and … asked if I had enough money to pay for the slices which definitely cost more than the buck I got for a school lunch. My friend with the car laughed and I did not escape great teasing the rest of the school day nor an arched eyebrow from my father at the dinner table.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s a wonderful story, Mark, and I’m glad you got away with it. Or at least that you had enough money to pay for the pizza. I remember those days before smart phones and tracking. Kids today have it much too easy. Their parents wouldn’t be able to figure out where they are but the kids would know exactly how to avoid their parents. Or they’d save themselves the trouble of going out and just get delivery.

      Reply
  2. Allison

    Back in HS, we had a walk-out to protest the county cutting the number of teachers at our schools. Three high schools participated – the school at the south end of the district walked three miles to the next one (mine), then we walked another three to the final school where we all congregated on the field. As I was walking back, my father drove by, saw me and my boyfriend trudging back to class, picked us up and took us to school. He wasn’t mad – he asked if my sister had walked out – she hadn’t. I didn’t get in trouble. Not from him, not from our teachers. It helped that it was a warm, sunny April day. They ended up keeping the teachers. I’m sure the walk-out wasn’t the reason.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The walk-out may not have been the reason they kept the teachers but you were still doing the right thing and for the right reason. I’ve heard too many student walk-outs derided as “kids just cutting class” but the truth is in every case I can think of the kids who walked out were ones who’d rather be in class learning but who stepped up, and stepped out, when they realized they had something to teach.

      Reply
  3. mydangblog

    The only time I ever played hooky was stupidly on the same day as Parents’ Night, and wow, did I get an earful when my parents came home after seeing my Social Studies teacher, who asked if I was feeling better because I’d been absent that day!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Wow. Of all the times to try and get away with it. But that’s why I never played hooky myself. I’m so badly organized, and was even worse when I was in school, with such a poor sense of time I knew I’d do something to get caught.

      Reply
  4. Tom

    It’s remarkable what is right around the corner. When I first moved into my house I’d take the dogs to Mary Lake Park, a man-made little lake in the middle of the subdivision. It’s a left turn out of my cul-de-sac, onto Moyvane, a right turn onto OConner, a left turn on Kildare, another left turn down Mary Lake Drive and straight into the park. It doesn’t take long to walk it, maybe ten minutes, and the neighborhood is nice. But one day, while cleaning my gutters on a ladder from my deck I turned to see that the park was about 250 ft from my backyard as the crow flies. It was stunning!

    Now, when we’re in a hurry we go through the gate in my back fence, through a small field, and right to the park. 30 seconds. Not often, though. It’s a still a nice walk through the neighborhood. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That does sound like a nice walk. Your directions for getting to the lake make it sound almost like running a maze, although I’m really tickled at the expression “as the crow flies”. Since crows can fly in a straight line they know the fastest way to get anywhere.

      Reply
  5. ANN J KOPLOW

    I never played hooky, Chris, and I have to stop writing this comment because my desk is snickering at me.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Desks can be tricky things. Better keep an eye on it.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: