In honor of the the upcoming school year I’d like to share two stories from the archives about some of the creative ways we avoided school when I was a kid.
Story One – Early Dismissal
Sometimes during the school day the class would get a call from the office on the intercom asking that the teacher send one of the students to the office. Sometimes this happened when a parent was dropping off lunch, sometimes the kid was in trouble but sometimes if the kid was lucky the voice on the intercom would say “Please sent (Student’s name) to the office for early dismissal”. For a kid this was like winning an Oscar, everyone watched and smiled as the kid went to the closet, got their coat and said goodbye for the day but everyone wished they had gotten the call instead.
The magic dismissal call came for me more than any other kid in school, mostly because my mother would get bored and need someone to go shopping or to lunch with or she had some other errand that could benefit from my participation. The early dismissal became a semi regular thing. I’d never know when it would happen but once in a while the call would come and I’d get signed out; when we got to the car I’d be told where we were going. Usually it was for lunch or something fun although the first time she did it she told me we were going to live at her Aunt’s house and never going home again (admittedly that was less than fun) but besides that one time they were always something better than school.
The best one ever came when I was 10 years old and in fifth grade. The call came and I went downstairs to meet her, in the car I asked:
Me: “Where we going?”
Mom: “To the movies”
Me: “To see what?”
Mom: “A movie called Purple Rain”
Two hours of music, bad acting and the glorious scene at Lake Minnetonka. On the way home she bought me the record. That was the best day of school ever.
Story Two – Celebrity Days Off
When John Lennon was shot I was only six years old. I remember my mom crying, but I don’t remember being sad because I got to stay home from school. This started the bittersweet tradition of the “Celebrity Day Off”.
A few years later it happened again:
“Mom, John Belushi died, can we stay home from school?”
Then the next year:
“Mom, Marvin Gaye got shot”
-“Did he die”
– “No school tomorrow”
In time this tradition faded away and eventually it disappeared completely*. When Rock Hudson died we took a half day but according to my much younger brother they didn’t miss a minute of school when Kurt Cobain, Tupac or Biggie died. The kids today may have a lot of advantages but they don’t have it all.
*I resurrected the old tradition on my own by taking a day off when Joe Strummer passed away.
Have a good year at school kids.