Re: What ever happened to traffic boys or girls

06/26/04 - posted by Norm Stahl

Part 2

At Commodore Sloat we each had our station as these were situated strategically around the school. The status spot was at Sloat and Ocean on the school side. You had to have12th grade reading skills and have topped out on the annual IQ test to land that spot. The stations on Darien Way were too tame, and the southwest corner across from Bowerman’s Drug Store was for the last kid picked to be on the traffic boy squad. It was the "right field" of traffic boy stations. (That was my station—maybe Mrs. To Be Unnamed was almost right.) One of the traffic boys was selected to be a captain, and there was a lieutenant or two as well. Their metal badges of red or blue identified them as future leaders of the free world (and certainly potential Lowell High School students). They would go from station to station to make sure that we were ever vigilant in our duties. That’s not quite true as by the time they got out to the Bowerman’s station --- you know "deep right field" --- they were eleven/twelve year olds once again telling stupid jokes and plotting how to sneak into the magazine section of the Bowerman’s to look at the most recent edition of Playboy.

Every so often the cop in charge of all traffic boys would come by, and we would salute. Heck, any cop that came by got a salute. In fact, we saluted anyone in uniform: the guy from the Water Department, the Muni man of the month, the Tidewater Gas station attendant. However, if someone came by in a semi-truck, there was a special salute of a fist going up and down in the air. That was a request for the truck to blow its air horn. (I can only wonder what the girls in the school were thinking as we boys were saluting anything that came by in uniform.)

The perk of course was to get to class in the morning a bit late, to get out of lessons for the 2:30 p.m. primary grade release from school and to get out of class ten minutes early for the 3:10 p.m. release. There was also the special duty of walking the morning kindergarten kids a couple blocks away from school in the late morning. We would never turn kindergarten kids lose on the streets today but in the 50’s we felt we had to have an eleven year old protect them for two blocks and let them lose to the world. Of course, there was Ted the poster boy for traffic boys. He would walk every kindergarten kid home to his or her home. Some folks at Commodore thought it was traffic boy pride. We knew better. He always got out of arithmetic and went straight to lunch. Even when he finally got in trouble for his home visits and he was sent to the assistant principal’s office, he got out of social studies. What a scam!

On rainy days we would get a few more minutes of freedom as we would have to go into the janitor’s area located off of the inner school yard to get into our bright yellow rain coats and our black rubber buckle up boots. (I can only wonder what the girls in the school were thinking as we boys were standing in the rain and fog as they got into warm cars to go home.)

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