Rubber Band Fight ~
Oh boy.. who hasn't had one of those at some time in their life?
I remember when I was in the sixth grade... yes; I'm going wayyyyyyyyy back in time now. My teacher was Mr. Hinckley and the school principal was Mrs. Yost. Well Mr. Hinckley was sick; so Mrs. Yost took over the class for the day.
Now a little bit about Mrs. Yost: she wasn't very big in stature, she stood probably around 4 foot... half the kids in the class were as tall as she was. She was a very kind, sweet woman; that I came to love; but in grade school she scared the bejeebees out of me. Every kid feared going to the principal's office. If you ever had to walk down that hall and go behind those big doors with P R I N C I P A L stenciled on them you knew darn well that your life would become a living hell.
Well now... about the rubber band fights:
On this one particular morning; the janitor, Oscar Christianson, had left a garbage can sitting in the hallway that was full to the brim and hadn't been emptied yet from the previous day. Sitting right smack dab on top of that pile of crumpled up garbage sat a FULL box of rubber bands. A box with 500 rubber bands in it that had never been opened. How could someone throw that away?? How could I be so lucky as to see it?
Now my parents and my Sunday school teachers had drilled it into me that "Thou Shalt Not Steal". So, I had to ask myself if this was stealing or not? I finally came to the conclusion that NO this would not be stealing if I took those rubber bands; because they were destined to be thrown away. They were garbage... and WHY someone would throw away a perfectly good box of rubber bands was beyond my comprehension. So I took them.
Now what to do with them? I had to share. I split them up amongst all the sixth grade boys. I would have shared them with the girls too; but I didn't trust them to keep it secret where they came from. I knew the boys wouldn't rat on me if they got caught with them. The girls always seemed to gossip too much for my liking, with the exception of a few; but I just couldn't take the chance of someone squealing on me.
As the day progressed rubber bands were being snapped all over the place whenever someone wasn't looking. The poor girls in the class were really getting bombarded. All this, of course, came to the attention of Mrs. Yost. She was finding them laying on the floor, all over the school grounds, during recess and the girls were complaining. She had enough.
Mrs. Yost DEMANDED that ALL the boys clean out there desk right this minute. ALL rubber bands were to be turned in to her THIS INSTANT. She asked several times where all those rubber bands had come from. Who brought them to school? No one squealed on me. It was like a code of silence amongst the boys. They never ratted on each other... and now they had included me... the source... in their code of silence. I was so proud to have them as my allies.
After the confiscation and desk cleaning and not getting any answer from the boys as for the source of the rubber bands she decided that a little more discipline was in need. She took her short little body, being held up by her little clunky high heels, and walks over to the blackboard, that she could hardly reach, and starts writing,
"I will not shoot rubber bands."
She then instructs all the boys to take out paper and pencil and get writing. She said a 100 sentences... that ought to teach you a lesson!
As she is writing the sentence on the board all the boys are looking at me with a glare. I was scared. I knew I was going to be their target at the next recess and I better do something right now to make it right with the guys.
So what do I do? I take out a rubber band from my desk and pull back on it; aimed right at Mrs. Yost butt. The release... BULLSEYE.
My gawd... you could of heard a pin drop! Mrs. Yost spins around DEMANDING WHO DID IT?!?!
Now once again the code of silence kicks in. These boys are not going to rat me out! My brave act of courage set things right once again with the guys. The girls saw me do it; and they weren't talking either. They knew that if one of them ratted me out they would have me to deal with for a long time and the boys. It was TOTAL silence.
Mrs. Yost gained composure and said that the 100 sentences now became 200. There were groans amongst the boys... she then said 500 sentences... more groans... she then said ONE THOUSAND sentences... and NO ONE gets recess until they are done... and she didn't care if it took all week!
That's when the unthinkable happened. Bobby W. pointed his finger at me and squealed. He squealed like a little whiney pig. "Melody did it! She gave all us guys the rubberbands. She stole them from the janitor. She has a whole bunch of them in her desk! She's the quilty one. Why do we have to be punished for what she did?"
I could have died! Mrs. Yost came over by me and looked in my desk. Sure enough... there's my little stash of rubber bands. In a voice that sounded like the devil himself being exorcised she says, "Go to my office and wait."
I took the longest walk of my life down that hallway to the P R I N C I P A L doors. I took a seat inside her office. It seemed like an eternity before I heard those clunky high heels coming down the hall. I was petrified to say the least. Mrs. Yost came in and calmly sat down beside me and asked where the rubber bands had come from.
Through the tears and body tremors I told her the whole story, even the part about fighting with my subconscience about stealing, about how proud I felt of my friends during the code of silence and how mad I was feeling at the time at Bobby, for ratting me out.
Then the unthinkable happened. She gave me a Big Hug and said that she felt my lesson was learned and then said that "us girls have to stick together sometimes". She asked me to come into her office every recess the remainder of the week and do my homework or read a library book. WHAT she had me doing in that office was of no concern to anybody else. As far as my classmates knew ... I was working on writing my 1000 sentences.
The boys still had to write 100 sentences that day and did miss their next recess. I spent mine in the principals office. Mrs. Yost and I had our own code of silence.
As for Bobby ~ he stayed away from me for a very long time. If he saw me coming around the corner of the building he would high tail it the other direction.
As for the other guys in the class ~ they all commended me on my courage. I was always one of the first girls to get picked for teams in soccer and baseball and kickball or partners in shooting marbles. They would confide in me about everything. I fit in with them. Little did they know that I cried like a blubbering fool that day and gained a very good friend.
As for the girls ~ they never messed with me. They would tell me all their secrets; because they knew they could trust me never to tell.
... all because of rubber bands.
The History of Rubber
Below is a brief timeline of landmarks in the advancement of rubber:
1493 - 1496 : Christopher Columbus discovered natural rubber in Haiti where he saw the natives there playing with ball made from the "sap" of a tree called "cau-uchu."
1736 : Natural rubber was introduced to the western world by Charles de la Condamine.
1770 : John Priestly found that natural rubber could erase or rub away pencil mark, hence he called the material "rubber."
1820 : Thomas Hancock invented a machine called "masticater" that allowed the rubber to be softened, mixed and shaped.
1839 : Charles Goodyear discovered the process of vulcanization. Vulcanization involves heating the natural rubber which causes a complex chemical change to occur. But in layman's terms, vulcanizing gives rubber its elasticity and other desirable properties so that it's useful.
1846 : Stephen Perry of London invents the Rubber Band.
Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.