Continued from volume 2 issue 5…
The permission slips were signed and the parents and teachers of Rosie’s 4th grade class got everything prepared for the much anticipated zoo field trip. Continue reading about Rosie’s childhood Zoo adventure.
On Zoo day, the campus was buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm. Mr. Villarreal was the master of announcements and coordination over his “P.A.” system. Shortly after the teachers called Roll, we knew his voice would soon come over the speaker. And it did, classroom by classroom he would call us out and direct us where to line-up. We knew we had to behave and pay attention or we would be relegated to the office or library for a stiff dose of “no seas menso” and “Andale vamonos!”
We would line-up: girls carrying whatever assigned, boys carrying the ice chests, Mr. Perez and Mr. Villarreal blowing their whistles to keep us alert, Mr. Guzman just side-eyeing us and swinging his paddle (and that was enough of a warning for most of us, but usually not enough for Kevin, Saleh or Sandy). Once lined up we started our walk toward International Boulevard, over the Crossover Pedestrian Bridge, past the Church’s Fried Chicken, through the neighborhood, along Highway 77 Freeway, past the cemetery and on toward the resacas across from Cummings Intermediate, then Ringgold Park and then finally arriving at the Zoo.
Once at the Zoo, we were excited to be greeted by gorillas, spider monkeys, lions, giraffes, tigers . . . after the walking trek, we were grateful for the humid, coolness of the amphibian house filled with newts, snakes, frogs, and other dark, slimy creatures . . . then onto the children’s petting zoo with the hairy chickens, rowdy goats, and horny donkeys . . . yep, one year I got some great shots of fornicating asses, one of those shots was of Mrs. Lisaukis’ hand over the lens of my camera trying to keep me from taking photos of fornicating asses . . . LOL! Our zoo was and still is one of the most fascinating and educational zoos I have had the pleasure of visiting. Many of the animal’s children in south Texas are often only exposed to via books and encyclopedias at that time were alive and kicking at the Gladys Porter Zoo . . . rhinos, alligators, polar bears, birds of every colored feather and size, flamingos, parrots, zebras, elephants . . .
Zoo Day was a day for being loud, singing, being silly, sharing sandwich lunches, taking photos with old conventional cameras, taking care of our environment by making sure we cleaned up after ourselves after time spent picnicking at Ringgold Park and playing to our heart’s content on the Rocket Slide, the swings that swung to the heights of the south Texas sun and hanging out by the pool with friends talking about how soon we would be back to the park to swim, play and maybe even visit the zoo, again.
Early afternoon marked time we would do the drill again. LINE UP! LET’S GO! Those were the orders from Mrs. Lisaukis, Mr. Villarreal and Mr. Perez, never Mr. Guzman. So, we would. And then we would begin our trek back to school, back over the railroad tracks, past the cemetery, along the freeway, back toward the projects and Church’s Fried Chicken.
That evening we knew it was a good day because we smelled of sun and felt the tingling sensation of a sunburn well-earned. That evening we knew it was a good day because we could start to think of the end of school and look forward to another summer and next year’s field trip.
Manguera Memories is a series of short stories that will be published in a book this year with proceeds benefiting La Prensa Texas. Read past stories at LaPrensaTexas.com
**This Manguera Memory is dedicated to Mrs. Linda Lisaukis, my 4th grade teacher. At that time, she was married to KRGV Weatherman Tony Lisaukis (who rivaled Lying Larry James, weatherman for KGBT TV). I hear she moved to San Antonio and remarried. If you know her (I think she also goes by her married name), let her know she has remained in my heart all these years and I think of her often. And if you remember, also let her know that this south Texas hell-raiser is doing good.