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.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.soccer.balls
    BEVY OF BALLS—Stair District Library Summer Reading Program VolunTeens, including Libby Rorick, back left and Ty Kruse, back right, threw a dozen inflatable soccer balls into the crowd during a reading of “Sergio Saves the Game.” The sports-themed program continues on Wednesdays through July 27.
  • Front.art.park
  • Front.drum
  • Shadow.salon

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016