Recess

Memories of Madison Lutheran School include "recess" which occurred for 15 minutes each morning and afternoon and after lunch for about a half hour. There were many things that kept us busy these favorite times of the day! Below are some examples. Other "memories" are also welcome. Judy Maginnis Kuster

playground equipment

  • Playground equipment, prior to 1950. Mr. Schroeder, the principal, sent the above picture and is in the middle of the picture.
  • the merry-go-round - someone would go in the middle and push us really fast. Could that be how Rodney Dary got the black eye in his first grade picture?
  • the slide - which Judy Maginnis remembers because she fell off the top and got a concussion in second grade.

  • the jungle gym with four poles to slide down. School board minutes from September 1951 reflect that this "climb around" cost $281. The picture is from 1952. Mr. Behrens is on the far left. Remember the snow pants and buckle galoshes? The "climb around" was reserved for those in the "upper grades."
  • building scaffolding we'd climb on - and jump off from the top
  • Linda Droster remembers swings. The swings were a memorial to Dawn Reick from her family.

    Sports activities

  • volleyball - in 7th and 8th grade, volleyball occupied all of the recess times for several of us. Pat Dieruf, Katy Oakey and Judy Maginnis all recall ripping numerous skirts climbing over the fence to get the volley ball. Judy also has a scar on her leg from one of those times, which she didn't tell any adult about for fear of having to have stitches.
  • basketball hoop at the far end on the playground by Spaight Street
  • softball - Andy Heinecke recalls "Ruthian" homeruns over the fence.

    group games

  • London Bridges
  • Duck Duck Goose - Miss Buchholz used to play this with us. She used to guide us around the circle so she could get in the open space before us.
  • Staying in for recess on rainy days, Miss Buchholz set up some sort of game where we threw erasers! or had us playing "Simon Says."
  • Red Light, Green Light
  • Mother May I
  • Threading the needle - made a long line, holding hands. The "leader" goes in and out between those in the line to see how tangled up we could get before losing hold of each other's hands.
  • Red Rover
  • Tag - or was that "boys chase the girls" or maybe "girls chase the boys?"
  • Lemonade
  • Pom Pom - Those in the middle would chant: "Pom Pom pull-away. Catch you on the run-away. If you don't come now, I'll pull you away!" How to play (from the family.go.com website): Step 1: Mark off a playing field roughly 20 feet square with string, a sidewalk edge, etc. Step 2: One person serves as the "tagger" and stands in the middle of the field. Everyone else lines up on one side of the square, facing the tagger. Step 3:When the tagger calls out, "Pom-pom pull away" everybody starts running and tries to get to the other side without getting touched by the tagger. If caught, they join the tagger in the middle.Step 4: Now everyone is on the opposite side of the square. The taggers simultaneously call out "Pom-pom Pull Away," and the players run toward the opposite side, trying to evade the taggers. The last person remaining untouched becomes the tagger for the new game.

    Other activities

  • the yoyo man
  • Jacks - babies, egg in the basket, cracks, fast cracks, poison (without saying a word and if you couldn't get all the way through them you had to go all the way back to babies), ups and ups, ups and downs, downs and downs, what was next??
  • Jump rope
  • trading cards - bare backs or old playing cards. Barbara Prescott had the best collection of horse trading cards!
  • baseball cards - which are now probably worth a lot of money for those that still have them! I bought a shoe box of cards at a garage sale several years ago -- cards from the 1950's and early 1960's. I paid a couple dollars for it. Recently I came across it again and discovered there are some cards in that box worth over $1000! including a Roberto Clemente rookie card and a Mickey Mantle. Here's hoping your mom didn't clean out the attic one day and get rid of your cards - or you didn't use them all clothepinned to the spokes of your bike wheels!
  • marbles - puries, steelies, cat's eyes. etc.
  • mumblty peg - can you believe we brought jack-knives to school!
  • hopscotch

    Just exploring and enjoying the world outside

  • Katy Oakey recalls the girls would design leaf houses every fall using the leaves from the huge oak and maple trees in the playground.
  • Sailing boats we'd made in the puddles each spring
  • The vines covered with little sour wild grapes that grew along the fence
  • The spiders and cocoons that were under the ledges by the windows
  • The bright yellow leaves on the Sugar Maple near Jennifer Street
  • learning to do a two-person carry, on the playground. Probably in 1952.


    Judy Maginnis, Linda Vick, and Ruth Rohlwing
    Judy Beckett and Merlin Ziegler are also in the picture.

    And when recess was over, the bell would ring and we'd run to get in line by the back door near the bubbler to go back inside.