March 7th…“WHAT WAS THE NAUGHTIEST THING YOU RECALL DOING IN GRADE SCHOOL AND WHAT WERE THE CONSEQUENCES?”
If I believed in reincarnation (which I don’t), I’d have fun theorizing that I was a midget Viking from another time; full of spit n spunk in a short little trunk of a kid. Orrr, maybe it was because I was an ornery third born child, or just being a boy? Well, all of the above made me a short and little, but happy, schemer who enjoyed having fun on the playground at Kiester Elementary School in Kiester, Minnesota.
As far as answering the “naughty” part of the question….. I did tend to get in trouble for FUN reasons. Even back in Grade School, I loved to chase “the older women” while out on the playground at recess time. Linda and Judy were three years older than I was and, boy, were they ever full of zip and giggles when they saw me make my daily grand entrance onto that expansive playground we enjoyed. All it took was some good-natured taunts and teases from those “mature” ladies and ZOOOM, the chase was on!!!
The three of us had the greatest times!! This itty bitty 3rd Grader, pumping those tiny Norwegian legs, was in hot pursuit of those two lovely ladies of 6th Grade maturity. As I look back, from the wisdom of adulthood, it was only too evident in the smiles of Judy and Linda that they had reached the time in their young womanhood life that made them fully aware of the popular song at that time called, “The Birds And The Bees, And Flowers And The Trees, And The Moon Up Above……And a Thing Called Love!!”. In between the laughs and squeals, I’d “capture” them with my speedy speeds. Now, as my “prisoners”, they would look down at me smiling with almost a womanly wink and ask, “Well, Elliott, what are ya gonna do with us now?”. Of course, being the thimble-brained 3rd Grader that I was (and fully ignorant of what the girls meant), I would respond, “Duhhhh, I dunno…….chase ya again, I guess??!!” Such was my prepubescent ignorance of the “facts of life”.
The big, red Future Farmers Of America (FFA) Building sat smack dab in the middle of our playground world and during the Winter, the snow would pile up deep and thick along its walls from drifting winds. Someone had “ratted” on me (either a teacher or fellow kid) and “Justice” (in the form of my teacher) reached out its long arm of the law and I was officially in trouble for chasing the gals. The punishment meted out to me, for this “heinous crime” (tongue in cheek tease) came in the form of needing to have one of my hands touching that FFA Building at all times while at recess. Now to THIS little kid, who had a zeal to burn energy and enjoy my freedom, this form of “confinement” was like a prison sentence……to be literally “stuck” to that big red building instead of running anywhere I wanted. Later while at recess, on that frigid Winter’s day, here came “my gals”, Judy and Linda, for our usual dose of glee. I relayed to them my “prisoner status” and my fate for being a “chaser of older women”. They quickly chimed their response with an idea ……..”Heyyyy, why don’t you just chase us around the building itself then?” BINGO, and the fun pursuit was back on!!! Round and round the FFA Building we went, creating a trench in the almost 3 feet of snow along those red metal walls. All the while, in my conniving little boy logic, I justified that I WAS being obedient (in a way) by having my one hand on that building at all times, ya??? 😉 The three of us would keep our eyes peeled for Big Bad Bossy Barton (a very tall/large teacher who was Playground Boss). When we’d spot her, we’d grind to a halt to allow her to pass by while we’d stand there “just talking”. But once ol’ Barton went around the corner of that building…..ZOOOOOM!……the chase was once again on for “older women” for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.
A heart-rending epilogue to this story was the passing of Miss Linda Ilene Wigern in May of 1967. Our family was preparing to move to Washington State within a couple months and I can STILL remember how stunned I was to see her photo and obituary in our Kiester Courier newspaper one day. Hometown folk can correct me if I’m wrong, but I had heard that she was riding in a pickup truck that lost control on one of the country roads near our town of Kiester, Minnesota. I heard that, as the truck careened out of control and was heading for the wide expansive ditch, she was thrown from the cab of the vehicle and was crushed as it rolled. Over half a century has passed since her death, and yet to this day, my heart sighs in sadness to think of this beautiful young woman that would never know High School Graduation, marriage, children and life in general. My heart mourns for what her family must’ve endured in suffering her loss. Her beauty rivaled that of one of the famous Lennon Sisters………Peggy Lennon (they look almost like twins). I count myself to have been blessed to have known Linda and the childhood joys we shared. So says I, with a tear in my eye, The Norwegian Farmer’s Son. 😦