Warehouse Find welcomes back guest blogger Michael Noble. Just in time for back-to-school, he relates the unusual tale of a strange (and would never be done today) experiment he was asked to take part in by the officials at his new school. Those were the days.
It was the mid-1970s. My family and I had recently relocated from the Los Angeles County suburb of Covina, California south by some dozen miles to the more upscale city of Hacienda Heights. It was summertime and we were at the tail end of a move, still in the middle of adjusting to a new home and excited about the the promise of a pool being dug into our new backyard. Soon my sister and I would be starting out in brand new schools. A rather exciting, somewhat anxious time.
The weeks went by, the pool was completed (we could hardly wait to make new friends at school and invite them over to swim!) and it was finally the first day of the new school year. I was entering the 8th grade at Mesa Robles, a mere couple blocks distant. My mother, sister, and I walked to school that morning.
My first day was something I’ll never forget, something you’ll never believe, something you’ll never hear word of ever again. Because in today’s day and age there is no possible way something like what I’m about to tell could ever take place again in the public school system.
Arriving at school with my mother, it was discussed with the principal, my new teacher and a few other adults I was to be the protagonist in a little school experiment, if I was willing. I was told I would don a hat, put a bandana across my face and brandish a toy pistol that shot caps. Dressed and brandishing these items I would run through my classroom firing the gun along the way from one end right on through to the exit opposite the room. The reason for this little display was to see how much of the excitement the students in the classroom could retain when a pop quiz was offered right after the stunt. What was I wearing? Did I say anything? How many times did I fire the gun?
I was positioned just outside the room and burst through the door five minutes after class had begun. Flinging open the door I yelled out “Nobody move!” and ran my way from one side to the other, continuously firing my pistol in the air. The time of completion for this little display couldn’t have been more than ten or fifteen seconds tops. Outside the other door was an assistant who ushered me to another room while the surprised students were given their quiz by the teacher.
Later, I was escorted back so everyone could see what I was wearing (one of the questions) and who I was. I was introduced as a new student and told to take a seat. I remember I was slightly embarrassed after all was said and done. But I’d made an impression to be sure.
Now … can you imagine such a scenario played out today? Not in the least. Such an event would be absolutely verboten. It was forty years ago I was made to participate in that little exercise, something that will never be done ever again.
School in the ’70s was a simpler, more innocent affair, devoid of cell phones and internet, where drama played out as above was an event to be shared when you got home over dinner with your family.
I rather miss those days …
Thank you, Michael. You can read more of his work at hotchka.com.
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