School, Mark and Toys

March 26, 2020

I was about to discovered what it was like going to school, having a toddler brother and how to protect my toys.  I had to learn what it was like to be at school 6 hours a day, while my toddler brother was home with Mrs. Hansen.

One day I returned home to find many of my toy trucks without any wheels.

"How did this happen?"  I wondered.

It never occurred to me that a little 1 year old could be such a destructive force.  This was all new territory for me.

"Did someone break in to the house and break my toys?  Was dad mad because I left them out and this was to teach me a lesson?"  I wondered further.

The next day, I packed everything carefully in my toy box.  I wasn't going to leave anything laying around.

Upon coming home from school, I ran downstairs to discover my toy box was open, and toys were all over the place.

Inspecting one of my plastic cars, I discovered tiny teeth marks.  Mark had been teething on my toys.  Not only that, he pulled the wheels off several of them again.

I was furious.  I told Mom, but she only said Mrs. Hansen probably let him play with a few of them.

PLAY WITH A FEW OF THEM!  They were all destroyed.

The next morning I told Mrs. Hansen in no uncertain terms that Mark was NOT allowed in my bedroom.  He was NOT allowed to play with my toys, and that he ruins them.

It didn't do any good.

Finally, Dad bought me a combination lock so I could lock my toy box.


In the mean time, before the padlock, I would sneak my most precious toys to school and hide them in my desk.

Unbeknownst to me, the teacher would inspect desks at recess time and remove any contraband.  I returned from recess to find the toy I had been so careful to not show in class gone.

"Brent," the stern voice said.

"I found this in your desk.  Toys are not allowed at school.  At the end of class you will be allowed to take it home with you," she said.  She went on to warn, "The next time, your mom will have to meet with me before you get it back."

Lesson learned:  Don't leave toys in the desk.

This didn't stop me from bringing them to school.  In the winter, I'd hide them in my over-shoes.  (These were slip on rubber boots that went over regular shoes.)  In warmer seasons, I would only bring toys I could keep in my pockets.

Pockets were a boys best friend.  I always (and still do) kept important things in my pockets.

I soon shifted from regular toys, to marbles.  Marbles became my favorite toy.  I had to learn to quickly forgive Mrs. Hanson because she was always bringing me marbles for my collection.

There was a rule at school about marbles for boys, and jacks for girls.  They were permitted, but they were to remain in their bags and could only come out at recess.

Recess was usually boys on the dirt part of the play ground playing various marble games, and girls on the school steps playing jacks.  On the hardtop there were girls doing jump rope, a combination of boys and girls playing tether ball, and kids running around on the grass playing tag, cowboys and Indians, or Simon Says.

My favorite thing to do was marbles.  It was like a carnival game where the prizes were nicer marbles and more marbles.

Finding a rock, perfectly round, I painted it to look like a HUGE marble.  There I sat on the ground with my legs spread wide apart and the big fake marble between my knees.

I had my friend draw a line from heel to heel.  He then announced, "If you can knock Brent's giant marble one marble width, you can keep it.  If you cannot, Brent gets to keep your shooter."

The game was on.

Marbles were flying in to my crotch as fast as I could scoop them up and place them in my bag.  My bag was overflowing when one kid came up, and grabbed the marble.

"Give it back before I call the teacher over," I demanded.

"I'll give it back.  I just want to look at it," he said.

I stood up and tried to reach for it, but he moved away saying, "No, I'm still looking."

Noticing a chip, he started to scratch at it revealing the stone beneath the paint.

"Hey, this is a ROCK," he yelled.

He gave it back and ran off, but soon returned with a teacher in tow.

Stating the boys name, which I can't remember, she said, "... tells me you're trying to trick people in to thinking a rock is a marble.  May I see what he's talking about."

Knowing I was busted, I presented the rock.

"Brent," she said with a look of disappointment, "I think you should give everyone their marbles back."

Several boys lined up while my marbles were dumped on the play ground.  Most of them identified their shooters, but I do remember one boy who had coveted a Chinese Marble trying to take it.

"Wait," I said, "that's my marble.  I had it BEFORE I came to school today.  Dwight knows.  He saw it."

Dwight was an Asian boy who was very well liked by the teacher.

"Dwight, is this true," she asked him.

Dwight nodded and confirmed the marble was mine and I had shown it to him earlier.

Restitution was made and I learned a big lesson about deceiption that day.

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