Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Barney Umbrella

In elementary at the beginning of the school year I was always the kid with a theme. In first grade it was the Power Rangers. I had every piece of Power Rangers back to school paraphernalia available at Shopko, Target, and Kmart . On the first day of school I was covered from head to toe in power rangers. I had the shirt, the shorts, the socks and a pair of tighty whities that placed the Red Ranger's face securely on my bottom. I had the Power Rangers lunchbox, backpack and velcro light up tennis shoes. I had a stationary set complete with a Power Rangers binder, ruler, pencils, and those crappy erasers that only ever seem to smudge. In short, I was a dinosaur kid and the Power Rangers were a combination of martial arts, lasers, explosions, robots, AND dinosaurs. I had have them, all of them.

In kindergarten though, my thing was Barney. I don't remember what it was in particular that made me love Barney so much. I think it may just be that I was a sucker for the sing-along shows like Barney, Lambchop's Play-along, and Mr. Rogers.

The one piece of Barney schwag that I remember vividly was my Barney umbrella. The top of the umbrella was a purple and yellow pinwheel; great for spinning. The handle was Barney's reassuring face. His wide smile seeming to offer comfort no matter how loud the thunder thundered or how hard the wind blew. It was with this umbrella, Barney's smile clutched in my fist, that I saved the lives of at least six of my fellow A.M. kindergartners.

Or at least, I like to think I did.

Indian Hills was set on 4 terraces climbing up one of the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains. The school was on the bottom terrace and the playgrounds, kickball diamonds, and soccer fields were on the next three. The kindergartners and the first graders would wind their way up through the south side of school to exit a few floors up onto what was called the "first level" for recess. On the first level, just to the right at the top of the stairs was a metal and plastic contraption of a playground painted in the distinctly 90's shades of pale green, maroon, and black. It was underneath this structure that I made my heroic stand.

Every once and a while we would have a "windy" day at Indian Hills Elementary. On these windy days I could almost prop myself up against the wind. As we got older my friends and I would run and jump with, and against the wind; startled by how much it affected our movement. As a kindergartner though, wind of this magnitude was terrifying.

It must have been my first windy day. That morning my mom made me take my umbrella just in case "all that wind turned into rain." I got to school, did some coloring, organized my cubby, looked at the chicken eggs my class was incubating, and argued with Mrs. Gilson about how the letter G sometimes makes the same sound as the letter J. She didn't believe me, and neither did her hand puppets.

After the standoff with Mrs. Gilson and her puppets it was time for recess. My classmates and I filed out the back door to the rows of hooks where we hung our backpacks, coats, and my umbrella. We suited up, and rushed down the hall. At the exit the wind was blowing so hard against the doors two people were needed to open it. Just like skydivers jumping out of an airplane we exited the building in twos and threes. My umbrella and I being in one of the last teams to jump.

Turbulence ensued.

It was what I imagine standing in the middle of a vacuum cleaner to be like; loud and windy with particulate pelting me from every direction. Every step I took threatened to take me airborne. Panicking, I searched for the nearest shelter, and found the pale green and maroon jungle gym. I rushed over and ducked underneath, crouching low in the space between the second step and the wood chips. In this space it was less windy but the wind still gusted into the gap I had ducked through kicking wood chips in my face. Suddenly it came to me. I brandished my Barney umbrella, opened it, and thrust it into the open space.

In my little shelter, my adrenaline rush was fading, the wind was trying to rip the umbrella from my hands and suck me out into oblivion. I was a little worried. How was I going to get out? Where were my friends? Could I make it back to the school alive? Suddenly a hand grabbed at the side of the umbrella and a voice shouted "Let me in!" I pushed the umbrella to the side and pulled a very windswept kindergartner inside my shelter. So it continued; every few minutes a terrified voice pleading to be allowed in, followed by a rush of air and shouts of "Close it!". We sat there, in the dim light shivering; nothing between us and the awesome fury of nature but a bit of polyester. A bit of polyester held fast by my hand.

The bell rang. We decided that we couldn't just sit there. We would definitely be in trouble if we didn't return from recess. "One. Two. THREE!! AHHHHHH!!!" Spilling from underneath the playground we ran and as fast as we could towards the safety of the school. I had a few moments of panic as I realized that my open umbrella was about to be violently ripped from my hands if I wasn't just carried away into the wild blue yonder with it. With much difficulty I closed it and dashed towards the doors.

Inside, Mrs. Gilson's stunned A.M. kindergartners tottered through the corridors and down the staircases towards our classroom. We shuffled past Mrs. Lemon's room. I had heard she was nice.

1 comment:

  1. scotty i love reading your storyies. i save them for before i go to bed. they are the best bedtime stories. you are awesome keep up the good work! you should really look into becoming a author.