Kissing on the Monkey Bars


Ours were shorter and more rectangular

Ours were shorter and more rectangular

Very many times as I am writing these little true life stories, I am hit sideways with a new memory.  It sometimes makes me believe that all of our memories are neatly tucked away inside the many whorls of our brain.  Wouldn’t it be a great thing to be able to tap into them or download them onto a flash drive so that they could be replayed on your video screen?  This is a short story, but it’s a very cute one, a memory I’m glad that popped out of one of those brain whorls.

On quite a lot of days for lunch, (if we had money), I’d meet my childhood friend Timmy and we’d check out to go to the local greasy burger joint (link).  Otherwise I’d use my lunch ticket.

I don’t know if kids do this today, but back in the 60’s a parent could pay a reduced price and pay ahead for a “lunch ticket”.  A lunch ticket was carried by the student and then punched by the cashier as we kids went through the line.  Parents didn’t have to worry about having to give their kids change every morning and were also relieved to know their kids would get a hot lunch. 

After lunch and on other occasions, we kids were given “recess”.  Recess was intended to give teachers a break from us kids but we kids were told the big lie – that recess was for us.  My best recess friends in fourth grade Ricky and Kathy.

Third grade might have been all about kickball, but fourth grade recess was all about the monkey bars!  Monkey bars were a staple in the kid-dom playground in the sixties.  If you’re not familiar, monkey bars is essentially a big horizontal metal ladder that kids can swing from (like monkeys).  Mrs. Thakara’s fourth graders would scatter outside at the announcement of recess.  Four of us were monkey bar regulars – Me, Kathy, Ricky and Dave.  Dave and Ricky were best friends and me and Kathy were boyfriend and girlfriend.  All four of us were members of our very own King’s Court.

Kathy always liked taking charge and we kids didn’t mind, so I guess this was really a Queen’s Court.  On one special day, she announced that today she, (again), was the Queen of the Court.  Robbie, (yours truly), was announced as King.  Next, Ricky and Dave were announced as Knights of the Court.  And there we were on the monkey bars.  There were two step bars that all of us were standing on, Knights at one end and the King and Queen at the other end.  Our hands were on the overhead ladder as the Queen next announced that the Knights were to battle it out to the death, hanging for their lives over a deadly, alligator infested moat.

Before the Knights began their battle, our Queen next announced that the King and Queen were to battle from the other end of the moat.  Uh-oh, Kathy was my girlfriend.  I loved her and didn’t want to fight her, it made me feel strange.  So I said:

“I don’t want to fight the queen, I love the queen.”

To that, Kathy, (my queen), said:

“Aw, that was sweet.”

And with that she reached over and kissed me on the left cheek.

I didn’t escape the battle though.  I don’t recall which of our Knights survived that day’s battle, but I know that day we lost a king.  Kathy could be a tough little fighter when hanging for dear life over alligators.

I may have fallen into a moat, but I think I won the girl that day.

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