The Elephant Slide 2012.10.17

Written by David Green.

elephant slideFormer Morenci resident Dan Green wrote the following essay that was published in the Observer in 1989. It came to mind recently when Jessica Stark from Little People’s Place called to place an ad in the newspaper. She wanted to sell the slide that’s been located on the preschool’s playground for years.

Wait a minute…isn’t that the elephant slide that stood inside the kindergarten room in Morenci’s old Union Street schoolhouse?

Sure enough. Former Little People’s Place owner Bob Dister confirmed it. Underneath the red paint is an elephant that provided so much fun for hundreds of Morenci students over the decades.

Jessica has heard that someone is interested in buying the old slide, but she hasn’t received any confirmation. If interested, it can be seen in the driveway at the preschool’s Locust Street entrance.

 

By DAN GREEN

When I was in kindergarten, my school had the usual outdoor play equipment, but there was also a little slide right in the classroom. There was a cartoon painting of an elephant on its wide metal side. When we climbed to the top, we went up the elephant’s back. When we slid down, we were zooming down its trunk.

The slide was great fun, as were the various toys available, and so were the furnace vents on the floor that made the girls’ dresses billow up like colored balloons as they walked over them. There was also chocolate milk on hand, every single day. It could have been paradise if not for the Hokey Pokey.

On a regular basis, Miss Gillen would get out her scratchy old recording of “Do the Hokey Pokey” and make us all stand in a circle. We were supposed to sing along as we did the dance. We were supposed to love it. We were supposed to know the difference between right and left.

elephant slide graphicWe hopped and jerked around like puppets gone berserk, limbs flailing, as the record sang out instructions about what to do with our heads and arms. I was half paralyzed with self-consciousness. Inevitably, when the record said, “Put your left foot out,” my right foot would go. By the time I figured it out, everyone else had gotten to the “shake it all about” part, so I hastily threw in a few spasms. It was a disaster.

I imagined the critical eye of the teacher burning into me. I figured all the kids noticed my confusion and were covertly laughing. While they were joyously singing “That’s what it’s all about,” I couldn’t fathom any of it. I just wanted to go home.

“Give me reading and writing any day over that motor coordination stuff,” is what I would have said, had I known what to say. Words were something I could wrestle with. They’d give up their meanings without much struggle. The Hokey Pokey sent me scurrying to the bookshelves—or to the elephant.

Up the back, down the trunk—now there was a dance I could understand.

  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017