Wednesday, September 12, 2012

1957 As I Recall

"Now, quit that chirping" was a frequent and urgent demand issued by one of my junior high school teachers. I don't remember for sure what class it was. It could have been any one of them, perhaps even a homeroom class. I've just got a vague recollection of the class itself but the words are clear as a bell in my memory. The teacher was female and my mind pictures her as a heavy set older lady. But, of course, to a junior high school student, most teachers were perceived as "older" and maybe heavy set too. Nevertheless, the command to stop "chirping" was issued on more than one occasion and it's purpose was clear and to the was a command to shut up. It was directed more or less to a group of students as opposed to just one. And as I recall this demand for action, or to be accurate, cessation of action, was always aimed at a group of chatting students behind me and towards the back of the classroom.  (Geez!. If that's right it would mean I was at the front of the class so what's that make me, a brown nose)? No, that can't be right because I don't remember being a brown nose with any teacher unless you count Miss Magoon for whom I would have had to jockey for position amongst the other boys in her class trying to situate themselves to the best vantage point from which to observe her bending over and giving any male pubescent observer an exhilarating look at her 44-D's swaying behind her low cut sweaters. All of us competing for her attention just meant we always had a lot of questions and maybe even a few silent bird whistles but I don't think there was any chirping coming out of us.  But back to the point it definitely wasn't Miss Magoon issuing the demand to stop chirping, I'm positive of that. And I don't recall any instances where I would have felt that I was being targeted to shut up. Maybe, maybe not. For the most part I was a quiet and well behaved kid except for the incident a few years prior in grade school where me and a kid named Danny got kicked off the safety patrol for conduct unbecoming our positions as co-captains of the patrol. But for this recollection of a junior high memory I just recall the command to "quit that chirping!" I also recall it as being a rather effective tool for controlling the class. I've no idea how today's junior high kids (oh, excuse me, now they are middle school, not junior high) would react to such a command. They'd probably think the volume on their smart phones was too loud. But back then, and we're talking mucho years ago,long before middle schools and smart phones appeared,  it seemed to work quite nicely in getting the chirping offenders to shut their beaks.