A Digression: The Dark Side Of My Childhood, Part 1.

AT THE SCHOOLYARD

Oh, it is dark in the schoolyard!

The walls are stained with young blood.

How many innocent souls enter here

only to end up writhing in pain.

For this institution chokes its victims,

and leaves them as broken toys.

This was one of my earliest poems(The earliest poem was a love poem to a girl in the 5th grade.) and expresses my feelings toward incarcerated education.  The story probably began long ago when the Los Angeles Board of Education had to come up with a plan to keep thousands of children occupied and entertained for six hours, five days a week.  It seemed like an impossible task.  But after countless meetings, suddenly Dr. Doctor stood up, and shouted:  “I have it!  We’ll create teachers!”  And so it was.  At first, teachers were scattered sparsely across the LA basin.  But hormonal impulses took over, and soon teachers were begetting other teachers, who beget others.  For, as Leonard Bernstein pointed out in his Mass, “God said that sex should repulse, unless it leads to results.  And so we crowd the world full of consenting adults.”  Eventually, there were enough teachers to take care of the thousands of children and schools were created to take care of both teachers and children with police guarding the gates to prevent possible escapes.

Don’t feed the birds, feed your own little selves!”

The schools were run on the Soviet plan;  strong centralization with a small group at the top making decisions for all, virtually no freedom in expressing ideas that weren’t sanctioned from above.  However, the Board did keep its promise; the teachers were entertaining, although not a lot of fun.  My 6th grade teacher was a true servant of the system.  He even taught us The Communist Manifesto.  This man wore thick, dark glasses and we assumed he had problems with his vision.  That this wasn’t the case, was proven many years later when he was arrested for making pornographic films of children.  My 2nd grade teacher was a heavy, strong, obese woman, who shook you if you misbehaved.  She would shake a child so hard that her cheeks would turn red and she would end up gasping for breath.  The only reason we could think of for her unduly exertions was she suspected a child might have money in his/her pockets.  But the California Gold Rush ended at her door.  Her career came to an abrupt end when she locked a child in a closet and forgot about it.  My 3rd grade teacher used to rap a child’s knuckles with a thimble or ruler, cawing:  “Take your medicine!  Take your medicine!”  She was a wiry old lady with crow’s eyes and a suspicious disposition.  When she went to the great beyond the following year, not one child shed one tear.

“But What Do Australians Look Like?”: An Excerpt From Janusz Korczak’s How To Love A Child, Part 2.

This post concludes the conversation between the boy “troublemaker” and his girl guardian.

G:  You did the correct thing by writing to me.  We’ll talk and I’ll offer you advice.  But don’t get upset if I speak frankly.

S:  I have improved…, and I try very hard, but why can’t I go out more often?  All the others go out once a week, but I can only go once every two weeks.  I’m just like everyone else, so why should they get a better deal?  My grandma asked me to come over every week, and I’m ashamed to tell her I can’t.

G:  You know very well why you can’t go out . I’ll ask for you, but I doubt it will do any good.

S:  I know I was trouble before and was thrown out of school.  But now I want to go to school. I know thirty-five countries and I have a travel book.  A real book!  I really want a box!  Please give me an answer.

G:  I’ll try to find a box and give it to you.  Could you tell me what you want the box for ?

S:  I really need the box, because I’ve got a lot of things:  letters, and books, my notebook, and other stuff.  I’ll put everything down in my notebook:  my worries, anything I do that’s bad, what I’m thinking.  I’ve got plenty of interesting things to write.

The boy was nine, and his girl guardian, twelve!