From the vantage point of those windows, when the subject was boring it was easy to get lost while looking out at the green grass and trees filling in during the typical beauty of budding spring in Virginia. In my case, I could even see my house since it sat right across the small marsh and open lot and was only about two hundred yards or so away. I could even tell in the springtime if Mom was home, for she loved to tend her roses in the afternoon and they grew along the fence that faced the school. But what my mind was focused on was that big vacant lot between the school and my house.
The big lot, the largest open space in the neighborhood outside of the school grounds, was where we gathered on nice days to play baseball in spring. Sometimes we even tried a change of pace with football but that was usually reserved for the fall or even a warmer than usual winter day. Even though the field had a slight incline, it worked and our thick ligustrum hedge served as the protective barrier behind the catcher. Unless you were Mickey Mantle, a foul ball, right or left, landed in safe territory clear of homes, but sometimes it could be in the edge of the marsh which necessitated care to avoid the rare but sometimes presence of a water moccasin. So, my mind would often be on the game planned for after school and I only remember one occasion where I was caught dead to right not knowing what the teacher was talking about. I was late for the day's game that day as I had to write on the blackboard "I will not daydream in class" one hundred times. I did get some ribbing when I showed up on the field later, as did anyone who suffered my fate, which was inevitable for all of us sooner or later. Boys would get caught and 'fess up, girls could smile and get away with it.
It was during these days that we boys noted a change in all of us in our daily plans. On certain days, different boys at different times weren't present, but over a short period of time it took hold of all of us. Girls, those creatures that we had routinely loved to tease and who teased back suddenly looked different in our eyes. I remember the cute little blonde girl with the white blouse who wore long pigtails. She was the one who cried in second grade when I dipped a pigtail in the desk inkwell and she didn't even know it until the teacher said the back of her blouse was smeared in ink. I spent an hour on the pink bench that day and a mere five years later I found myself thinking she was very pretty. We couldn't understand how our parents knew it was time to tell us about the way things were, but I guess the fact that we started wanting to invite girls to birthday parties on our own, without parent's requiring it, we should have been able to figure it out.
Those days were sometimes confusing times but also wonderful times and we were blessed to have parents who took parenting seriously and would oversee us even when we didn't realize it. Now in my case, the "birds and the bees" comprehensive discussion was provided by my older brother and my pastor, Dr. Buckles. Mom felt that it was important for me to be taught the whole truth by another male and Brother Bobby did a good job of it and Dr. Buckles, a man who was very fatherly to me after Dad died, always took a personal interest in me in those days. I was very fortunate and it instilled in me a healthy respect for what was the way to live and what was not. I feel sorry for so many young boys today who get the message from people who have no business being the one to share the message. And believe me, in my case, God played a most prominent place in what was expected of me.
The Good Old Days: they weren't perfect but they did a good job of preparing me to be an adult in a society which needs to return to some of the same principles that always worked. Some things are just right and others are wrong. There is no such thing as "anything goes" because, when "anything goes," society goes with it. Have a blessed day.