FRESHMAN DAY WAS
FOR THE BIRDS!
We had never heard of the term “hazing” for kids becoming
freshmen. The procedure was called “initiation” and the practice was
often carried too far.
Our class was quite large and some of us didn’t appreciate the
abuses of initiation. The first freshman abuse activities of the year
started at the morning recess. All freshmen were ordered to come to the
north side of the big brick school house. The upper classmen had formed
a long belt and paddle line along the entire length of the building with
four or five feet between the line of students with belts and paddles
and the side of the building. The freshmen boys were to run the entire
length of the line with the upper classmates battering them with their
Our boys made a hasty plan to run into the line and through it
and then scatter all over the school yard. The plan worked as intended.
We ran down the line and were too close to the harassers for them to
deliver any licks. We grabbed at their belts and paddles and pushed them
around like an old pro shuffling dominoes. Then, as we had planned, we
scattered and ran in all directions. Elbert and I headed north toward
the vocational building with a big, rough guy close behind us.
The wide door was open and we rushed inside, hoping to close and
secure the opening before he could get in. It became obvious that we
would not be able to close it in time. Elbert grabbed the first
convenient club, which happened to be a piece of one inch pipe about
four feet long. As our pursuer rushed inside he swung the pipe and
caught the attacker squarely on the left knee. He fell heavily on the
concrete floor and didn’t make any attempt to arise. Before we rushed
out the door I looked back and saw him holding his knee with both hands
and uttering some very unsavory words.
Scuffles were going on over the whole area. Some were wrestling
and a few others were using their fists in earnest. Several teachers
were running around trying to restore order. Two big ruffians had
“Do you give up?” I inquired.
By this time the teachers had restored a little order and the
bell was ringing to signal the end of recess. Apparently someone had
found the fellow with the smashed knee and two of the men teachers were
carrying him toward the front of the school. As we found our way back
into the building I heard enough to know that they taking him to the
county seat for medical attention.
When we were in our home room the teacher announced that all high school
students would assemble in the auditorium.
The Superintendent reprimanded all of the students for the
violent display. He told us that there would be no more initiation
ceremonies for the rest of the year and suggested that everyone get busy
and study and be good friends. We listened and felt proud of our victory
over the upper classmen. I don’t think they were too pleased with the
outcome. The boy with the bad knee missed several days of schooling and
walked with a crutch for a few weeks.
By the time our class graduated we only had 12 students.
The oil field work in our area had disappeared and the depression
was in full swing.
Was the initiation battle a lot of FUN? Well, some days you have
more fun than others. This was one of the days when fun was a little on
the low side!