Thursday, April 29, 2010

The wonder that is... field trips!

Remember looking forward to field trips? Field trips, anywhere? Just the opportunity to escape school and spend time somewhere else.

My favorite ever field trip was to Fort Laramie when I was in 4th grade. It was the "big" field trip of grade school - the one that since we were in 2nd grade we heard about and looked forward to. For us it was a full day trip - we left at 7am, boarded a bus and rode it for two whole hours!

I remember nearly every detail of the place, the jail, the houses, the center courtyard, how children who stepped out of line were punished, the stories of "Indians" (because we called them Indians back then). Even as a kid I was always impressed by stories of another time and place. I loved stories of the west - still do - and I wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. I remember that Dusty had money to buy a mouth harp and my mom balked because he would ruin his teeth with it and SHE of all people knew how much those braces cost!

We got back that evening at about 5pm. It was a day I will never forget and I would love at some point to go back... though I always worry that my impression of the place would be forever changed viewing it as an adult.

I had a few less than stellar field trips too.

Every year each grade at my school would do a trip to the planetarium (stellar) and a trip to the fish hatchery. One year Phillip fell into the fish hatchery trench.

Yep, into it. Funny, I think it was also 4th grade since I remember the same teacher packing us all up early (before we had eaten lunch) putting us back on the bus and bellowing the entire 30 minute trip back to the school.

One year I was in Girl Scouts and the parent leaders enjoyed organizing field trips. I remember them packing us in their cars - seat belts? Well they don't have seat belts in the back of hatch backs. I remember my back being squished against the back window of a Pinto hatch back while the parent driving smoked and screamed that if anyone touched and ruined her defroster lines on that back window we would be paying for the repair.

We went to the post office once.


We went to the blood bank another time. This one gave me a stomachache literally and figuratively. We hadn't been told about the field trip, the leaders just packed us up and took us. My mom had no idea where I was and this gave me a stomachache. I was never to go anywhere without her knowing. She knew I had Girl Scouts, but none of us knew of the field trip to the blood bank and there weren't cell phones back then to make phone calls.

I remember seeing the stacks of bags of blood and feeling light headed. Then watching the blood sloshing back and forth coming out of the people's arms and I could barely get myself to the restroom.

When I got home I was waiting to be yelled at, but my mom simply said, "I was wondering why you were late, but I knew you were at Girl Scouts". I don't think my mom knew until then - which was about the same time I quit, how inappropriate the leaders probably were.

Leif had a field trip today. Definitely not his first.

The teachers gave the kids opportunities to earn pennies. Then when "everyone" got to 100 pennies, they got to go to McDonalds. McDonalds is a treat to my kids. We don't go often and tend to reserve McDonalds for traveling. The main reason is because I find the Play Area kind of... well just not exactly the place I want to hang out with my kids for more than one reason which I don't need to go into now!

Leif prided himself on being one of the first to hit 100. Actually he hit 126 before the teachers counted them up and told he and his close boy friends that they had to stop. I found it odd that it was a few of the girls who had a hard time hitting their 100 - and really came down to the wire with at least two not hitting the mark.

The McDonald's trip was today and all week Leif looked forward to it. I wish he had the interest and drive to get to school on time everyday. Every few minutes he asked if we were still on time? Yes, I told him. We will make it there by 9am. We normally aim for 8:30am and occasionally make that. I didn't tell him that it is rare that we don't get there by 9am, I just enjoyed the morning of him hurrying around and prompting his sister to hurry as well.

This morning he told me that he had ordered (pre-ordered) two brownies. I told him how I loved brownies and I knew that he did too.

He was quiet for a minute, then he looked at me and said, "I am going to bring home one brownie for you, okay?"

I reitterated to him how sweet that was, really, but that no, he earned his brownies and he should eat them there at McDonald's with his friends.

I have the sweetest boy ever!


Jay said...


Terri said...

We took a walking field trip to the post office in 2nd grade and I remember it as a favorite! :) It was the end of our lessons on letter writing, so the field trip was to purchase stamps, tour the office, and actually mail our letters. I loved writing even then (I think I was the only 2nd grader who already had a penpal and didn't have to make one up! LOL), so I loved it.

In 5th grade, my teacher rewarded students who turned in all their homework for an entire month. Even 20 years ago, there weren't many of us each month! LOL. One month, her husband (the superintendent) checked the 3 of us out of school for lunch at McDonald's. Again, one of the favorites I still remember to this day :)

Trying to think of other good ones... in 1st grade our classes "adopted" a nasty hissing cockroach and visited it at Zoo Atlanta. (My mom offered to donate bug spray, ha ha.) In Kindergarten I remember a picnic at the teacher's house where we all took turns on a pogo stick and ate popsicles.

Jo said...

Most vivid field trip the museum, mom offered to drive some kids. We had a nasty little chevy nova...the floor was littered with garbage and she was the mom who smoked in the car. It was much safer to do that back then obviously. ;o) I was mortified.

RAB said...

I remember the Fort Laramie field trip our school took too. Ours occurred on a super windy day. Besides the wind, I remember the really long bus ride and them telling us about salt pork and hard tack.

You've got a great memory of your trip!