By Peggy Sims
When I was in middle school, we went to school in the big three story red brick building that used to set where the Attala County Library now sets. The first floor was third grade, second floor fourth grade, and third floor fifth grade
The building to me was very intimidating and I was somewhat apprehensive. I was perfectly alright in third grade, first floor, but then I began to move up. Fourth grade seemed to be somewhat alright for me but, when I hit the top floor in fifth grade, I refused to go to school. Now, I was not afraid of being on the top floor. Ms. Teal was my teacher and I really loved her. We walked out into the auditorium for music, I was fine. We had plays on the big stage, okay. I was a “peewee” cheerleader this year and I was so excited. Everything was just fine EXCEPT THAT BIG LONG CURVED TUNNELL that ran from the third floor to the ground!
This was our fire escape. It might as well have been a torture chamber as far as I was concerned. If I knew when we would have a fire drill, I would always be so sick, I had to stay home from school. I was not going to go down that thing if I had a choice.
There was a door that opened on the wall, just a short little door that you would climb in and sit down, give a push off and down you would go and after a few seconds you would land on the ground outside on the playground. Simple enough, right. Well, it was not that simple for me. I have always been afraid of closed in places. If an elevator doesn’t open very quickly when we stop my heart starts thumping like a bass drum. I have cut many pieces of clothing off me with scissors or literally torn them off because I would get my head hung and thought
I was caught and it would be ripped off. I once got locked in a bathroom stall in Jackson, the only one in the bathroom at the time, and I crawled underneath the door to get out, flat on my belly. I had a dirty shirt the rest of the day.
I tell you this to let you know and I want you to feel my fear of sliding down that tunnel. Well, one day I was not fortunate enough to know this would be the day. We were sitting in class and the bell rung three shrill times, signifying a fire drill was looming before me. My heart started to beat really fast and my mind was going faster trying to think of a reason I couldn’t go down that big darkened pipe.
Nothing came to mind, other than me having a nervous breakdown and I couldn’t fake that but give me a minute and I figured I could.
We lined up and headed toward my FEAR, and I was sure I would be stuck forever inside this THING. As the others climbed in before me they seemed to be sliding out pretty fast. Now, remember this is my first time to slide down this fearsome tube. I stepped inside and begin my terrifying descent. I slid pretty fast at first and as I rounded the curve about three fourths of the way down, I could see a small round of daylight and then I stopped. Do you hear me, I STOPPED SLIDING! I was stuck just the way I knew I would be, the way I had imagined it for so long. But, before I could start to scream, I believe a boy, who is now a very well-known banker, came flying down behind me, kicked me pretty hard and pushed me out. My dress had hung on a piece of tin and I had needed a nudge. I escaped with a torn dress, almost hyperventalating and most thankful to the boy who had pushed me down and out.
I believe I might have “fire escaped” a few times more, always petrified but never stuck again.
I’ll leave you with “something” good to remember about my horrifying experience – school day rolls recipe.
School Day Rolls
1 package of dry yeast -3/4 cup really warm water -2 T. sugar -2 T. vegetable oil -1/2 t. salt - 1 egg
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups plain flour
Dissolve yeast in water in big bowl. Add sugar, oil, salt, and egg.
Stir to dissolve. Stir in 1 cup flour until smooth. Cover with a cloth and let rise for 15 minutes. Grease square pan, 9x9. Stir down batter and add 1 1/2 cups flour. Stir until mixed and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead several times.
If too sticky, knead in up to 1/2 cup of extra flour. Remember the less flour used, the lighter the rolls.
Divide dough and shape into balls and arrange in pan. Cover and let rise until fully doubled about 25 to 30 minutes. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Brush with warm butter.