I’m an old wooden playhouse.
I was big enough for the kindergarteners to stand up inside, they had to duck a little to get inside the door. I didn’t have a floor, just the carpeting from the room and my windows were simple squares.
Only three or four kids could play inside and besides being brightly painted there wasn’t anything inside me except imagination.
This was when I was allowed in a classroom. They moved me out when the men with ladders closed the whole building to take out the insulation.
One of the older guys on the work team all dressed in white hazard suits said he had been here to put the stuff up in the first place.
Someone did a swab type test on my wood and I was declared a health hazard. Lead paint they said and they hauled me off to a back room filled with broken desks.
Playhouses are made of garish plastic now. The kids can lift them off the floor. They don’t imagine like they used to. They run inside and come out with standing up hair.
I wish someone would drag me out of here, take me home, send someone to play with me.
The kids played house. There were dads, moms, way more moms, the boys said house was a sissy game.
Most of the day I watched the little hands grab fat flat sided crayons. Bulky pencils and paper lined at the bottom.
The little ones had to be able to tie their shoes and write their first names in order to sit at a desk.
That sounds like the ones who couldn’t write had to stand up all day. What I meant to say is that they didn’t get admitted if their parents hadn’t taken the time to teach them their names.
The shoe tying requirement, I am sure, came from a teacher who was tired of leaning down to tie shoes all day long.
I do miss the kids, I miss the paste, I miss potato day.
On potato day the children brought in raw potatoes and carved or bit hard scrabble images into the halves. Then they pressed the potato halves into finger paint and stamped slick paper full of shapes and muddied colors.
Lead paint and asbestos, killing off the kids? I wonder how?
I still wish someone would take me home. Maybe soon, did I tell you I am hard red on my roof, navy blue on my sides with yellow window edges and a yellow door?
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