REFLECTIONS – INNOCENTS ABROAD; A FIRST GRADE FIELD TRIP

(From the Beachy Banner, 1976-77, exact date unknown)

“We are going to make a trip to the museum” the first grade teacher explains, “and we need a few mothers to go along – would you?”

A field trip! I think- this should be fun! And to a museum! I love museums! I haven’t been to one since my brief visit with a pre-school class several years before.

Heaven knows how much preparation goes into a field trip. The teacher must arrange for a bus. This particular year, buses are scarce. There is a gasoline shortage. The teacher finagles her and there and gets us a bus. Forms are sent home for the parents to sign and return to the school. The children are given instructions.

“We have to take SACK lunches,” my son tells me emphatically. “SACK lunches!” So I won’t pack his lunch in a plastic lunchbox by mistake.

When you go on a field trip, the MAIN event is the place you are visiting—but we savor and treasure the coming and going. We climb aboard a big yellow bus. The driver is cheerful and friendly and welcomes us warmly.

We sniff appreciatively; it’s a peculiar thing about school buses—they smell exactly the way a school bus ought to smell. We all sit down and it’s all the children can do to suppress their excitement. Minutes later, the bus lumbers over the onramp leading to the Golden State freeway. We ramble along, the children’s eyes wide with wonder. There is so much to see on a bus; it isn’t like being inside an automobile. From a bus you can see far and wide. You can see railroad tracks and trains and the air echoes with “Lookits”

“Lookit the cement mixer truck!”
“Lookit those horses!”
“Oh, wow! Lookit the caboose!”
“Lookit that apple!” (someone’s lunch is rolling down the aisle”.

Presently the bus turns into a parking lot. This is Exposition Park. At the entrance, a guide is assigned to us. He leads us through a maze of corridors and rooms, touching lightly, expertly, on the very best the museum has to offer. It would be impossible, he explains, for us to see EVERYthing in such a short time.

Yet there is time for us to enthralled with baby chicks hatching in an incubator, and time for us to see a most amazing set of model trains, in a landscape patterned after the state of California.

At the end of the tour, we reluctantly say goodbye to our guide. He goes off jauntily to meet another busload of students.

We have lunch on the grass in the park, and it is fun to see on the ground and eat oranges and tuna salad sandwiches. Oranges and tuna salad sandwiches never tasted quite so good. I think, a little sadly, they will never taste QUITE this good again.

We have a few minutes to play ball and jump rope before our bus arrives to take us back to school. The teacher comes over to me and says thank you for coming along with us.

Watching these children, I am filled to the brim with something I cannot put into words. It is I who should thank YOU, I am thinking. Thank you for giving this day to me.
**

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