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Friday, November 4, 2011

The Ravine


My annual Halloween tradition doesn't involve pumpkins or cookies or costumes. But it DOES involve complete darkness, kids sitting on the floor, and a spooky audiorecording of Ray Bradbury's "The Ravine" taken out of my favorite book of his Dandelion Wine. This year I went in search of THE darkest room in the school which I found underneath the auditorium, just right of the boiler room, down a long dark cement passage with a few unexpected steps, past two foot thick doors, and be sure to duck your head because the pipes are low-hanging AND keep on the lookout for spiders who have NEVER seen the light of day!!! On the board where I write the day's agenda and learning outcomes, I wrote merely: ?????
You can imagine this if you try. We've all been there--wanting to be scared, begging for it, not wanting to lose face with our peers, so we settle into our terror and just wait it out. When we got into the room, we turned off the lights. Complete pitch blackness. I threatened them all with "project abortion" if heart-stopping silence wasn't maintained. Three minutes into the audio someone alerted me to the emotional state of a boy up against the wall. On come the lights and the invitation to go back to the classroom. Five kids clung to each other and made their way back down the cement alley and back to the real world and their reading books. I said a silent prayer to the patron saint who protects teachers against lawsuits and cowboyed on. It was ever so spine-tingling and fun. I repeated this with over 60 students. Multiply that by 10 years or so and we're talking some serious Halloween anxiety. Mwaaaaahhhh...

6 comments:

Elyse said...

You will have children affected for years. Poor little souls so terrified that their mothers wont be able to bribe them in any possible way to venture to the fruit room in the basement to procure a quart of peaches. I speak from experience. I was such a child.

Shelly said...

You rock. That sounds sooo oh so scary. How come I've ended up so wimpy to all things scary? A scary movie sticks with me for YEARS!

Mad Hadder said...

Elyse, I can't even read the words "fruit room" without quivering, so I know what you mean. I had a brother who lurked behind doors, in closets, and even under my bed!! But I seem to have grown out of it.

theriddle said...

This sounds so fun! I also make prayers to the patron saint who protects teachers from lawsuits
.

Patti said...

I have got to go check out this Ray Bradbury story. I thought I knew them all but this isn't ringing a bell. And thanks for the vicarious thrill of just imagining the darkness, and the spiders. *shiver*

Soozcat said...

As much as I love Ray Bradbury (and believe me, I do... he is my patron saint of writing), I was an overly-imaginative child to begin with and would have walked home haunted and afraid to go to sleep for the next three years.

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley