Softball at the one-room country school

The Kozelkas had a big brown lab dog that answered to Curly. In his prime, Curly walked to and from school each day. Curly hung out around the school building, and earned his keep by retrieving our softballs that were hit into the woods. However, Curly wore out his welcome when he ate the eggs for the Easter Egg hunt. Curly had his fill of eggs, but we had our fill of Curly. He was literally in the dog house from then on!

The school day dragged on as we kept one eye on the regulator pendulum clock. We looked forward to our recess break at ten o’clock. The teacher wanted us to “get fresh air” and wear off some energy. Only severe cold, rain, or a thunderstorm would keep us indoors.

The favorite game was softball for fourth-graders and up. But there wasn’t enough time to get a game in. Since recess lasted ten minutes, we had to settle for catch or hit fly balls or grounders.

Noon lunch was longer, though, and allowed us to get a game in. Some days we played as much as five innings. We had to leave a few minutes to gulp down our food. Two boys in either seventh or eighth grade were appointed, or rather self-appointed, to “choose up” sides. Girls were excluded from the “choose sides” privilege. The “choosers” would stand about four feet apart. Winner of the bat toss got first pick to form a team. Up until fourth grade, I was one of the last picks. But as I grew older, I got bigger and stronger, and therefore higher in the picking order, same with all the other kids.

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