Archive for Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crack the whip

November 24, 2011

Back in the 1930s and ‘40s our grade school was on U.S. Highway 73 where the Zinser Apartments are now. There was a big playground in the back with lots of space for ball games and whatever we could dream up to do.

On the north side of the building the boys played marbles, and mumble-peg, and the girls jumped rope and were pretty good at jacks. In the northwest corner was a big ocean wave that kept us very busy during our lunch breaks and recess. There were teeter-totters, a slipper slide and swings along the west side by the big trees that would give us shade during the summer months. On the south side were two poles with different heights of chains to hang on to and we called them giant strides.

The big open area in the center was where we lined up to go back into school when the bell rang.

The open area was also used for other purposes, and one thing I remember was a visiting gentleman who was a professional at using a bull whip. He gave a demonstration that was totally fascinating and like nothing I had ever seen. He explained all about the whip that was made of leather. He was a good storyteller and would tell us about the tricks he could do, and we watched in awe as he did them. To me one whip seemed about 40 feet long but he had several lengths to “crack.” I guess that is where the expression “crack the whip” comes from.

What seemed unusual for me was the way the man was dressed. He was a rugged-looking individual, like he had been in the outdoors a lot and had a real rustic air about him. It was the Depression years, and obviously this man traveled around the country giving demonstrations at different schools and organizations for support.

Now we see the whip being used in circuses and zoos for training animals. They are very entertaining but could be very dangerous too.


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