The majority of my fondest memories of elementary school did not occur while sitting at a desk. They involved flying (flailing) from swings into the nearby honeysuckle bushes (and poison ivy); trying to climb up the slide and down the ladder; and swinging from scorching hot iron monkey bars while paint chips (probably lead-based) stuck to my hands. I remember being flung from the merry-go-round at about 50 miles an hour and ingesting dirt and gravel through my mouth and my nose. There were schemes and alliances and running and jumping and falling and contests and challenges and whatever else our minds and bodies could conjure. While the kids were knee-deep in play, the teacher just sat in a folding chair at the top of the hill, seemingly oblivious to what was taking place on the school grounds. They only ventured from their chairs when blood was visible from 50 yards away or to signal that recess was over by blowing that stupid whistle. We would return to the classrooms, tired and smelling like a nasty concoction of grass stain, dirty laundry, and hair sweat.

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