“The Loneliest Place**”

nothing lonelier

than a locked-up school playground!

Sigh*-o’-the times!


  • (A fortuitous mis-type I think. Sometimes my too-fast fingers get it right: it is a sigh (not as originally penned “sign o’ the times” and so it stands.)
  • ** (Even into the 1970s schoolyards in Sanford – and I suspect most of Seminole County here in Florida, USA, were not fenced or in most cases I know not patrolled by live-aboard off-duty cops.  The local elementary school had about 20 acres of open fields, not including the jungle jim – three different kinds! sets, swings, tether-ball set and merry-go-round – You Push variety – and it never lacked customers.  We had sponsored Cub Scout kite -making and -flying gatherings in windy March weather Saturdays and always could be found a pickup football or basketball game at almost every schoolyard.  Baseball and softball were pretty much an organized affair – or a neighborhood-by-neighborhood activity.  Yes, we had a few bad actors – I knew at least one who spent time in reform school at the infamous Marianna institution of infamy and death and degridation – but we kids mostly would halt that kind of daytime ruination of our treasured patch of turf.  Then  – with the help of a school or government architecture – schools became institutions.  Brick buildings with non-functional windows to let in cool breezes or regulate the steam over-heat of a successful boiler room operation sans phones and cigars; now they all require central heat and air!  Also centralized is the office – instead of a long, lonely walk down an empty covered sidewalk to get to the Principal’s office, the warden’s – oops, principal’s office is centrally located right behind the only open doors for exit or ingress: Add sux-foot tall fences, locked and sometimes even barbed-wire-topped, and you have the functional definition of a prison.  And they wonder why kids today act like inmates.)



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