No Man’s Land

Freshly cut grass and a nearby taco truck.  That’s what freedom smells like in the outside world.  At school, at any given second, the dismissal bell was to ring releasing us into that world where paying attention in class would be overruled by socializing with friends.  And moments before my classmates raced out the door is right when I saw it happen.  Next to Johnny’s shoes his pencil rolled from his desktop before landing under the chair.  Like an incident in slow motion, the pencil tossed about a bit before coming to settle in what we commonly refer to as “no man’s land.”  Aka….the floor.  So every day bits of our school supplies are left forgotten in “no man’s land.”  Stockpiling pencils, glue sticks, erasers and such have an importance that always gets trumped by freedom.  That’s okay.  We don’t mind.  Somehow, someway, new supplies always turn up ready for us to use on another day.  With time, summer came and went and across town Joey was anxiously waiting for school to start.  He was mostly excited to see classmates who were friends at school but not outside of.  He was ready to approach the new year with a new backpack, new school clothes, and a well stocked stash of school supplies.  And most of all, he was eager to scope out the purchases that dad brought through the door.  “My new backpack!  Sweet!,”  he cried as he held it high in the air.  But as he looked through the rest of his new school gear everything appeared to be just a little…’off.’  Joey was confused.  None of his supplies had the usual packaging.  Some items appeared to be used a bit before being placed back in the cellophane.  Even his Crayola crayons were not in their usual green and gold box.  Joey opened the box and peeked inside.  Hmmm…all of the main colors appeared to be their but the points were not as pointy as they should be.  His notebooks were bound with paper that had already been used on one side.  And his pencils had already been presharpened!  Joey grew even more confused.  He looked up at his dad who was watching with reserve the entire time.  In a loud, husky voice Joey cried,”I don’t know where you’ve been doin’ your shopping man!  But either these supplies have been used or somebody’s been messin’ with my goods!”  What would your children say if you gave them supplies from “no man’s land?”

This is a story I plan on giving to the students on the last day of school.  It will coincide with the 18 rooms I clean after school and the school supplies I have collected off the floor since the beginning of the school year.  Nearly 2,000 perfectly fine pencils, along with hundreds of everything else.  They don’t seem to realize that even if I were to pick up 2 pencils from every classroom, at the end of the night I would have 36.  By Friday I would have 164.  I’ll let you know their reactions when they see the display.  I would love to hear your comments about  what your children would say if you gave them supplies from “no man’s land.”