Jillian 13a - 2nd School Incident (Continued)
“Where were we?” Jillian asked when we next met. “Think I left you on a bit of cliff, hanging on my every word?” She smiled. Guess our Jillian is beginning to enjoy this.
“Sir 2? Is that where we were? Where I left you? Sir2 sitting on his desk talking away quietly while we were all shouting at each-other?”
”Yes.” I said trying hard to get the same ferocious glare Jillian can conjure up at the sound of a hat dropping. I failed.
“He had this other infuriating habit of NEVER repeating anything he had said while we were shouting. So, of course we were once again all together shouting,' What did he say? What is happening?'
“Eventually we go the gist of it.
“We were going to 'borrow' tools; tape measures, string, chalk (we had no idea why we needed to bring chalk to school, but we didn't ask) shovels, rakes, spades, picks, some short sticks of wood, a small plank about 3 feet long and about 6 inches wide, and anything else we could find from our Dad's sheds. Someone was to bring a wheelbarrow. No one was to know. This was to be at 6.00pm on Thursday evening after dinner. Secret kids' business.
We were to assemble at the back gate of the school after telling our parents we were going to be outside playing (luckily the weather was good). Sir2 was going to let us know if the coast was clear, meaning all teachers had gone home
On the night. No one else knew anything and there were about 15 or more of us kids. It was the best thing. We were all so excited. We whispered although it was still light and we were outside where we were usually shouting ourselves hoarse, and there was no-one nearby to hear anyway. But it was a bit like 'The Secret Seven', or spies, or really neat stuff like that.
“Sir2 whispered too. He told us we were going to measure out a jumping pit, and a run-up, (he had the measurements on a piece of school notebook) and we were going to dig a long narrow pit about 1 foot deep. It was before decimal currency.
We started by hammering 4 little wooden 'pegs' he called them, into the ground. They made a rectangle. The string was to go around the pegs and when we covered it with chalk and flicked it at the ground it made a white line on the grass to mark the edges of the pit. Sir2 had to check that the angles were correct. The strings had to be 90 degrees – or something - so the pit looked good.
Who would have thought that all this stupid maths was going to be important?
But this was such fabulous stuff, I had no idea, how it was all going to work.
But in about 2 hours – all of us working flat out – we had our pit dug out. It was huge, About 20 or 30 feet long, I later learnt, and about 9 feet wide. We had to take all the dirt and dump it over the back of the field where there was a lot of other dirt so no-one would know. I love secrets.
The run-up went back another 100 feet, but luckily we didn't need to dig this. We just put a couple of pegs to mark the start. We also put our little piece of timber in the ground about 3 feet from the beginning of the pit, to mark where you had to jump from.
When we finished and were laughing and carrying on as kids will do, three big trucks pulled up to the back gate loaded with very little tiny chips of wood and sawdust.
We all looked at Sir2 and he laughed out loud, “What do you think the pit was for?” he asked.
Well we had no idea. But these 3 huge tip-trucks pulled into the school yard and tipped this spectacularly HUGE amount of wood bits into our pit. I had never been this close to a huge noisy smelly truck before . It would have been frightening, but there were younger kids there and that wouldn't have been very good.
That's when the rakes got used. We raked it all so the whole pit was full to overflowing and looked a bit like a huge mound in the town cemetery.
It was getting dark. So we stood back to look at our work. A couple of brave kids had a quick jump.
Our long jump pit was agreed a success.
We snuck back home and managed (most of us, I think) to get the tools back into the sheds without being caught. We headed back to our bedrooms and pretended we were studying. Whew. All hot and sticky. And dirty? You wouldn't believe?
The next day Sir2 was called into the Headmaster’s office to explain how a long-jumping pit had suddenly and magically appeared at the bottom of the school field. The rest of the kids were going crazy. We could tell them now it was us. We were so proud. One of my best moments at school.
I think Sir2 got into a bit of trouble. But we kept our pit, and some kids did all right at the school sports long jump as well.
It was a win all round. Sir2 was our hero.