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Sat Aug 23, 2014, 05:31 AM

My grade school: 15 minute recess at 10:30; + hour for lunch and more recess

Most of us rode our bikes to and from school - weather permitting; too snowy/rainy for biking? - we walked. No school buses for our parochial school. I walked home for a hot lunch every day, unless it was snowing, and had to hustle to get home, eat and back in time. No lunch room at my school - kids could buy white or chocolate milk, and brought lunches in brown bags. And no gym facilities or gym classes.

Recess was totally unorganized, but sex segregated. Also unsupervised cause the nuns were grabbing a quick lunch in the convent. I recall an old guy who was the custodian was available if anyone had an accident. The boys played baseball or basketball. The girls played tetherball, baseball, dodgeball, hopscotch or jumped rope. We all had stay-at-home moms, but nobody had 2 car families. The dads took the cars to work. Moms did grocery shopping on Saturday mornings. There was not a single car waiting to pick anyone up after school. But hey! at least this was a perfectly flat midwestern town - so we weren't walking uphill both ways, as the folk lore goes.

And with no electronic games - and we got our first television set when I was 11, we spent a lot of time after school skipping rope, roller skating, climbing trees, playing tennis, walking to and from the town library or local YMCA for swimming lessons.

That was life for a kid in small-town, 1950's America, and it was damned good. Thanks for this OP - I've had fun recalling that life.

Oh, and when the weather was too bad to go out for morning or noon recesses, the nuns had us stand, stretch and do group exercises in our classroom. They didn't have PhDs in education, but evidently knew instinctively that kids need to move to let off steam.

On edit: Just thought of that line from Out of Africa - lightfoot lads and golden girls.

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