Challenge: Write something about the Month of May. Using prose or poetry, write anything about the month of May, any holiday in the month, or anything that happened to you or a family member or friend during this month.
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After reading all the submissions for last week’s challenge -- I feel depressed!
I grew up in the ‘40s and ‘50s in a small town where everyone knew everyone else. When a new family moved in, they were greeted by half the block within the first few days. All the men would stand around the front yard having a beer and trading stories so they could learn all about the new neighbor.
Several of the wives would show up with baskets of food so the new woman didn’t have to worry about cooking for the first few days.
And, if they had kids, all the kids on the block would stop by to check out the new neighbor. If there was only a girl, we’d do our duty and greet her. This was before we figured out what girls were good for so we’d stand there, staring at our shoes, kick a few stones around, and say something like, “Glad to meetcha, well, I gotta get home. See you around.”
If it was a boy, we’d be checking out his toys to see what we could play with and then have a few races to see how he stacked up against us old-timers.
All that just to point out that we were what you might consider a normal American small town for the mid-twentieth century. My problem is that I cannot remember any kind of May Day celebration.
I’ve heard of the various things others wrote about, but, with one exception, I don’t remember ever doing any of them. That exception was one Maypole dance.
Our kindergarten classroom was nothing more than a large room with a single support in the center to keep the ceiling from falling down. That support was a metal pole about four inches in diameter and the teacher decorated it occasionally but we never actually paid any attention to it. We did, however, that May Day, when we walked in and saw the pole wrapped with white paper and, hanging from the top, were streamers of blue and red crepe paper.
The teacher talked to us about May Day, what it meant, and some of the celebrations involved. I promptly forgot pretty much everything she said. Then she said we were going to do the Maypole dance. None of us knew what she was talking about (because we hadn’t listened to what she had said), so she and her assistants got us all on our feet and arranged us in a circle around the pole.
We had a bit of a problem because there were more girls in the class than boys so a couple of the girls had to pretend to be boys. I think that was the first time I figured out that girls were weird. If I had to pretend to be a girl, I’d go running out of the class screaming; but the girls thought it was cute and were giggling all over the place.
The teacher started the record player and the assistants guided us as we did our dance. The boys went one direction in a circle and the girls went the other direction, each of us holding onto a blue or red piece of crepe paper. I had to raise my arm and let a girl go under it, and then I had to duck under the next girl’s arm. We were supposed to be skipping and dancing and, I guess, the girls were doing that. The boys were just trying to remember whether to go over or under the next girl.
I kinda figured out that girls must have thought up this piece of torture because they were laughing and having a ball. The boys were just trying to get that stupid post wrapped up as soon as possible so we could get out of there. When we got down toward the end, the boys were just running around as fast as possible and the teacher finally said we were done.
For some reason I have a mental image of the top half of the pole as looking very neat with the interwoven red and blue streamers. The bottom -- it was probably a good thing the teacher sent us out for recess right about then.
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