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The Slice: Crosswalk down memory lane

Sun., Aug. 31, 2014

Let’s start with memories of childhood paramilitary groups.

“Being a road guard at Sunnyside Elementary School in Kellogg, Idaho, in the 1950s and 1960s was a rite of passage,” wrote Steven Stuart. “We couldn’t wait until we were sixth-graders and joined the school patrol.”

They wore special belts and carried badges. (I’ll pause while you recite the line from “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” OK, now back to our story.)

“In those days I-90 didn’t exist, so all the traffic went right through the city. So there we were, sixth-graders, stopping all the cars and trucks with our little flags. And the surprising thing, I never once had a person fail to stop.”

Ray Tansy was a school crossing guard on Spokane’s North Side way back when. One day he and his partner stopped a funeral procession to let a kid cross the street. “We got in trouble for that.”

A Slice reader who grew up in Seattle recalled her crossing guard uniform. “Whenever it rained, we got to wear old rubberized yellow slickers that must have been castoffs from the fire department because they hung nearly to the ground and we had to roll up the sleeves three times.”

Then there was this from Patsy Wood. “In sixth grade at Jefferson Elementary in Pullman, I was the crossing guard lieutenant to the hunky ‘all the sixth grade girls loved him’ captain, Eric Morris. We even had our picture in the Pullman Herald posing together. Heaven!”

I wonder how people might mispronounce it: While on summer vacation, math teacher Ben Miller encountered a Kansas town near the Colorado border named Kanorado. “That got me thinking that since Spokane is close to state borders, perhaps Spokane should be renamed Wadaho or Washdaho and Coeur d’Alene could be become Idaton. Just a thought.”

Today’s Slice question: Unlike adults and certain marketers in other parts of the country, did people in the Northwest not refer to overweight boys as “husky” back in the day because of potential confusion with the University of Washington mascot?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Almost 30 years ago, Mary Martin’s 3-year-old nephew thought the expression “No way, Jose” was “No way, horsey.” Martin still says the latter.

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