DAY18. Homosassa Elementary School
First thing in the day I had to drive Norman to the airport in Tampa which was an hour and a half away, then turn right back around and come back in time for the kindergarten kids’ recess. No time for error, so of course, as I’m getting off of the highway I see a message blinking on the cell phone. It’s Norman at the airport saying he can’t find his keys, and he thinks he left his keys in the back of the car. So I get out, walk behind the car and yes indeed - there they are 70 miles later just hanging in the lock. So I called Norman and he said he can get a neighbor to let him in and I can stop at the Homosassa post office and express mail they keys to him. Which I do, but then I am a little late for the school visit since I have to go back to the house and load up the trailer. The trailer is sitting in the front yard propped up on a pile of broken up cement so That I don’t have to bend down and lift it from the ground. It’s a bit too heavy. My brother has this big pile of concrete from smashed up driveways so he can make a stone wall along his driveway. One side is finished, and he’s waiting to do the other.
The school is just down the end of the road, but I am not allowed to go onto the school grounds. Originally, I had wanted to come to the playground and let the kids ring the bell at recess like at the S. Kortright School. Both of my nieces go to this school and my brother had checked with the school authorities and it seemed like we had the green light until people at the school realized that I meant to bring a trailer onto the school grounds. No way. This is the community where Jessica Lunsford was kidnapped from her home and murdered last year. She was a classmate of one of my nieces. Since then, the Jessica Lunsford Law was passed, and it severely restricts access to the school grounds. However, they liked the idea of having a bell there for the children to ring and hear so they suggested I try parking at the firehouse across the street.
So, I came around the corner and was trying to figure out how to park in front of the little firehouse so that I wouldn’t have to back up and could move quickly if I needed to. I went around the building to look into the window to see in which of the 2 bays the single fire truck was parked so that I could get out of the way. I was so preoccupied that I didn’t notice the front of the school across the street until I came back around the firehouse. There on the other side of the street, standing in a long silent row along the fence were children. Many children. The entire school was lined in front of the entire length of school, waiting to ring the bell. I couldn’t believe it. The principal was there and told me to park the car as close to the fence as possible so that everyone could get a good look at the bell. So I swung the car across the street and the kids went wild. They wanted to know, “Why did the clapper have a sock on it? Where did the bell come from? Why was the sock full of holes?” They all wanted to touch the bell but couldn’t reach it over the fence. Two children were chose from each class (plus my nieces) to come outside the fence and line up to ring the bell. So I warned them that it was very loud, gave the designated ringer the heavy duty hearing protection and off they went. The kids were well behaved in spite of having to hold their ears. After each child rang the bell he or she got back into their line to wait until all the children had rung the bell so that they only had to open the gate once to let them back in. One boy managed to ring it twice.