My Early “Law Enforcement” Career!


Getting a Ticket

I’ve already told you about Officer Dan and shown you the consequences of my early need for speed, but, for the sake of being “fair and balanced” I should also show you that I did actually do some “enforcing” myself …

 Safety Patrol 001   In sixth grade, I was a safety patrol!

On the fashion front, let’s just analyze this outfit.  First of all, I’m sure it was at Mama’s insistance that I was wearing a headscarf, because she wouldn’t have wanted me to get cold while standing on a corner making small children safe.  And, it may look a little odd now that I was wearing a dress (if my head would have gotten cold, what about those legs?), but girls never wore pants to school when I was in school, even in high school.   And, yes, those are saddle shoes and bobby socks — a part of any well-dressed girl’s attire in 1959.  I remember the jacket — my favorite red denim one, and, of course, the ensemble was finished off by the “badge” of authority, my safety patrol belt! 

My elementary school had six grades, so as “the big kids” sixth graders were selected to be safety patrols.  And I was one of the ones chosen!  It required us to walk to our designated corner about a half hour early and then stand there until almost time for school to start to make sure that the kids got across the street safely. By the way, these were neighborhood streets, not busy main streets. 

I’m pretty sure Mama told me what pose to strike for this picture, because I doubt that I would have come up with that look of authority on my own.  This was before schools  figured out that small children escorting even smaller children across streets probably wasn’t the best idea, and started hiring adults to do it.

Now, in case you’re thinking that this was just a “glamour” job, let me tell you it wasn’t without its risks! 

One dreary morning, after an overnight rain, when it was time for me to leave my post and walk the block to school, I approached the corner in front of the school where two boys I knew were the patrols, Tom and Tom.  But, unknown to me, while Tom and Tom had been standing at their corner, they had realized that the big, flat rock (about 3 ft. across as I remember) laying there had water under it and that if you stepped on one corner of it, a little bit of the water would spurt out from under the other side.  Soooo, as I approached, they decided that it would be funny to surprise me with their new “toy”.  So, as I walked up, one of them didn’t just step on one side of the rock — he jumped on the rock!  Instantly, a huge spray of dirty water shot out from under the rock and covered me in mud!  I cried.  They laughed.  The principal spanked both of them and drove me home to change my clothes. 

That may have been when they decided adults were better for those jobs.

7 Responses to My Early “Law Enforcement” Career!

  1. Hilary says:

    Sandra, I love this story. I enjoy reading your memories as if they were my own. The Tom-Toms are probably physics teachers now. 😉

  2. cathy says:

    The safety patrol at our school was also a 6th grade privilege and I only remember getting to do it once, but I remember writing down a license plate # (on paper taped to the back of the hand-held stop sign) of someone who I thought might be speeding! I felt so important! The outfit looks very familiar – all the way down to the bobby socks and saddle oxfords!
    Thanks for the memories!

  3. C. Beth says:

    What a mean thing to do! I hope Tom & Tom turned out to be nicer as they grew up. (And I bet they probably did!)

  4. C says:

    Okay, my brother was BOTH a safety patrol member AND a flag raiser!! Such honors, complete with the privilege of leaving class 5 minutes early! I never got to be either, although I did get to hand out cartons of milk and collect the 3 cents each one costs (or 2 for a nickel). Thanks for bringing this memory back. C.

  5. Sandra says:

    Ha! Hilary — They DIDN’T beccome physics teachers, but they should have, shouldn’t they? Actually, one of the Tom’s became a policeman on the city police department, and we run into him occasionally. Actually, he reminded me of this episode when we saw him and his wife about 6 mo. ago in a restaurant, which inspired me to write this post. I’m glad you enjoy these stories that I enjoy telling! 🙂

    Cathy — Hubby laughed when I told him about you writing down license nos. of possible speeders — we really did take our job seriously, didn’t we? 🙂

    Beth — I really don’t think they did it to be mean — I think they thought it would be funny, and I would laugh too! But, unfortunately, the one who JUMPED on the rock had no idea what a TIDAL WAVE that was going to create. I remember feeling bad when I found out they were spanked. We continued to be friends, but I’m sure they learned a lesson!

    C — I can’t imagine having a brother that soaked up all that spotlight — safety patrol member AND flag raiser! What a shameless self-promoter! 🙂 Your comment about the milk brought back memories for us of the 3 cent milk cartons that we had long forgotten. Thank you! 🙂

  6. chrissy says:

    This is so cute, I can hear mom saying “the boys only did that because the like you!”
    I was a crossing patrol also in school, both 4th and 5th grade (6th grade was at the middle school)!! This is such a great post thanks for sharing!

  7. Sandra says:

    Chrissy — Yes, that saying was around for more than one generation, because Mama told me that too! I’m glad you enjoyed the story. 🙂

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