Besides the last day of school, nowhere in the school year does an event muster up enough anticipation from the kids than a class outing. The field trip is something that unless they are from planet home school, every child enjoys. In my parochial school, a field trip meant that we could shed our plaid skirts and don “street clothing”. This caused some anxiety, in part because you had to show off how cool you “normally” were the two remaining days of the week. For the lucky ones, that meant a brand new outfit. I was not one of those kids but choosing the field trip outfit was a large scale event. My mother staying up late to launder and press a dress chosen at the very last minute, went hand in hand with her borrowing money from my grandmother for another field trip perk…The all important school trip lunch. Being the cosmopolitan urban Chicago kids that we were, we ditched the suburban bag lunches that some Erma Bombeck prototype slaved over in favor of mom tossing a five dollar bill at us to eat at McDonald’s or the museum cafeteria. Looking back at it all, mother should have known that I was a type A-ish over planning freak back then. Young Afrocity twitched in her sleep all night, sometimes even getting out of bed to check my bag for the lunch money and parental consent form – four times.
At the break of dawn, I was up and ready checking my “travel itinerary” and out the door before mother could get her robe off. Skipping to school I went, and of course I stopped at Lorenzo’s candy store on Cermak Road. I got Now and Later’s, Lemonheads, Good and Fruity, sometimes a huge pickle (don’t ask I think it is a ghetto thing), Cosmic pop rock and a bag of Cheetos. Indeed this would be a kick ass day. Tingles went up my leg when I arrived at school and the big yellow buses were already there, parked and awaiting 200 kids.
That brings up something else. There was always an agenda within the school bus seating arrangements. I would not sit next to a dweeb or the class booger eater. My best friend was Kimberly and the plan was we would sit next to one another but within ear shot of the boys we had crushes on. We were only 8 years old but what did we know. The entire field trip rested upon our being seen with the right kids, especially if they were a grade or two ahead of us.
Finally the moment arrived, heads were counted, parental consent forms were collected and we grabbed our seats on the bus. Cheerful chatter was in the air. I felt sorry for the nuns who always had to look like well…nuns. However I forgot something…Where the hell are we going? (Shrugs shoulders) Ah, the destination does not mean twat. So I just went to the Lincoln Park Zoo last weekend with my mother. Who cares if I have been to the Shedd Aquarium umpteen kazillion times. It is a field trip damn-it and I was as happy as a little black girl could be.
But this was Chicago. Not Washington, DC. I had about as much chance of seeing President Jimmy Carter as I did going home to an apartment on Lake Shore Drive. Seeing the White House, I think, would have eclipsed all of my anxiety over my Pop Rocks supply and designer jeans. Competition over the coolest Keds does not matter when you are about to visit the President of the United States of America.
So you can imagine my being slighly pissed off when I heard about what teh Obama White House did to these poor kindergartners from Virginia last week.
This article from the Christian Science Monitor gives a rather humorous account of the Obama White House shoving these kids under the bus:
Crying 5-year-olds booted from White House (Biden not involved)
By Jimmy Orr | 05.22.09
It’s not because the kindergartners were demanding the release of Dick Cheney’s memos or anything. It’s just that they were late. So they were told to hit the road.
It’s a weighty and consequential story to ponder over this Memorial Day weekend. And if this rises to the level of an official gaffe, let’s make one thing clear: Joe Biden was out of town.
More than 100 five-year-olds from Conway Elementary School in Stafford, Virginia, had a school field trip planned to the White House yesterday. But it was abruptly canceled.
And just like the Obama-Cheney feud, there are two sides to the story. Both will agree that the kids arrived late. The White House is saying that the appointment was scheduled for 9:30. Parents say they were told to arrive at 10:15.
Either way when the school buses arrived at 10:25, they were denied entry.
“The person who headed this White House trip up came out and said, ‘I’m sorry, the White House tour’s off.’ There were a lot of crying kids,” one parent said to NBC’s Anne Reynolds.
The parents were reportedly told that staffers were preparing for the president’s event with the Pittsburgh Steelers and there wasn’t enough time to accommodate the tour.
As you can imagine, this didn’t set well.
“Here we have President Obama and his administration saying, ‘Here we are for the common, middle class people,’ and here he is not letting 150 5- and 6-year-olds into the White House because he’s throwing a lunch for a bunch of grown millionaires,” the parent said.
Hmmm, what category of liberal compassion does throwing a bunch of 5 year olds out of the White House fall into? Couldn’t they have at least had a representative give them a tour someplace? It is not like they were visiting a condo. Instead of being the “people’s president”, Obama chose to hobnob with an NFL football team.
The kids were officially thrown UNDER THE SCHOOL BUS. On that note here is a very appropriate ZoNAtion video about Obama and his magic bus entitled “Under My Bus”
Autographed Letter Signed,