Monday, October 22, 2012

School Days--Wally's Field Trip, Part Two

  School Days is a reoccurring feature in which I ask people about their early memories of school. Everyone has a story to tell about this and I hope to give them a voice here.

This week will be a little different with an account of Wally's first grade field trip instead of an interview. I wrote this soon after we returned from the trip so there's no looking back with nostalgia here. The story is fairly long so it will be posted in three installments. They will follow each other weekly on School Days Mondays.

Wally's First Grade Field Trip 
Last week found me unsure about going on the trip and the long bus ride to the zoo.

Now for Part Two.
One of the highlights of our tour.

 We arrived at the zoo at ten o'clock and had forty-five minutes for lunch before we actually entered through the gates to look at the animals. Forty-five minutes seems like such a short time when I'm trying to run errands, but it seemed like an eternity when I was having lunch with my group of first graders. They spent the first three minutes eating the meat and sweets from their lunches. The next five minutes were spent feeding the pigeons everything else that was left. The remaining thirty-seven minutes were spent by me trying to control four very excited children. I was partially successful with my cries of “Stay out of the mud!” “Come back here!” “Get off of the railroad tracks! and “Where has the rest of the group gone?”

At eleven o'clock, we finally entered the zoo and had two hours to tour it at our leisure. As we started to explore the zoo, the personalities of the members of my group became evident very quickly. I had two boys, Wally and Andy, and two girls, Isabel and Jessica. Andy was somewhat quiet and wanted to look at everything very thoroughly. Wally, my son, was determined to always be in the front of the group. Isabel was very talkative and eager to tell every fact she knew about the various animals. Jessica was concerned with when we were going to visit the gift shop so that she could spend the money her mother had given her that morning. Also the girls decided that they were going to have aliases for the day. Isabel would only answer to April or Krystal. Jessica informed me that she should be called only Jasmine or Pink Feather.

We covered most of the zoo during our visit even though we didn't have a well thought out route. Pretty much whatever they saw ahead of them was what the kids wanted to see next. However, they all seemed to be looking in different directions. As we were touring, I got hoarse from calling out, “This way Isabel, I mean April, Krystal whatever your name is. Over here, Pink Feather. Slow down, Wally.” and “Come on, Andy.”

The highlights of our tour were watching a king cobra snake eat some white mice for lunch, and observing an orangutan watching us. As the orangutan came up to the glass and stared at all of the kids, I was reminded that she was close to the same developmental age as they were. I wondered what she thought about all of the little monkeys jumping around outside her cage.

After continually hearing I'm hungry, ...

Tune in next week when we go to the snack cart and the gift shop. See if the bus ride home is any different than the bus ride there.