Memories of Madison Lutheran School include "recess" which occurred for 15 minutes each morning and afternoon and after lunch for about a half hour. There were many things that kept us busy these favorite times of the day! Below are some examples. Other "memories" are also welcome. Judy Maginnis Kuster


Playground Equipment

Basic equipment, slide and merry-go-round, were ordered as school was about to open


The slide — which Judy Maginnis remembers because in second grade she fell off the top and got a concussion.

Playground equipment, prior to 1950. Mr. Schroeder, the principal, sent the above picture and is in the middle of the picture


The merry-go-round — someone would go in the middle and push us really fast. Could that be how Rodney Dary got the black eye in his first grade picture?

Linda Droster remembers swings. The swings were a memorial to Dawn Reick from her family.

The jungle gym with four poles to slide down. School board minutes from September 1951 reflect that this "climb around" cost $281. The "climb around" was reserved for those in the "upper grades."

A jungle gym like ours.


1952 photo of students on jungle gym. Mr. Behrens is on the far left.
Remember the snow pants and buckle galoshes?


Tetherball — the kids organized our own tournaments.

Stilts — at the time we never realized how dangerous those things were — especially using them to walk up the school steps. Judy also had a pogo stick at home and brought it to school sometimes.

Leaf houses — When the big beautiful sugar maple trees would shed their leaves in the fall, the girls would design and create "leaf houses" outlining several different rooms.

Paper boats — when the big puddles formed in the street gutters we'd make paper boats to sail in them. Playing in the big puddles got us in trouble and we had to stay in for recess with our heads down on our desks. Maybe because the gutters featured rainbow-colored oil slicks on top of them.

Hopscotch — we didn't have chalk so we scraped stones together to make the outlines.

Building scaffolding — we'd climb on - and jump off from the top!


Sports Activities

Volleyball - in 7th and 8th grade, volleyball occupied all of the recess times for several of us. Pat Dieruf, Katy Oakey and Judy Maginnis all recall ripping numerous skirts climbing over the fence to get the volley ball. (All the girls had to wear skirts.) Judy also has a scar on her leg from one of those times, which she didn't tell any adult about for fear of having to have stitches.

Recess volleyball in dresses
(unlike today's uniforms)


Basketball hoop at the far end on the playground by Spaight Street.

Softball - Andy Heinecke recalls "Ruthian" homeruns over the fence.

Pickup softball game at recess
Boys play, girls watch?


Group Games


Other Activities

The yoyo man — Linda Droster reminds us of the yoyo man who would come to the playground at recess. He'd teach us how to do tricks with the yoyo and sometimes carve designs in the wooden yoyos we all had. Some of the yoyo tricks we learned were

Fancy yo-yos of that era, like ours


Jacks - babies, egg in the basket, cracks, fast cracks, poison (without saying a word and if you couldn't get all the way through them you had to go all the way back to babies), ups and ups, ups and downs, downs and downs, what was next??

Jump rope

Trading cards - bare backs or old playing cards. Barbara Prescott had the best collection of horse trading cards.

Baseball cards - which are now probably worth a lot of money for those that still have them! I bought a shoe box of cards at a garage sale several years ago -- cards from the 1950's and early 1960's. I paid a couple dollars for it. Recently I came across it again and discovered there are some cards in that box worth over $1000! including a Roberto Clemente rookie card and a Mickey Mantle. Here's hoping your mom didn't clean out the attic one day and get rid of your cards - or you didn't use them all clothepinned to the spokes of your bike wheels!

Marbles - puries, steelies, cat's eyes. etc.

Mumblety peg - can you believe we brought jack-knives to school!


Fire Drills

It may have seemed like an extra recess because it got us out of class onto the playground. But they kept trying to keep us in line.

Fire drill


Just exploring and enjoying the world outside

Katy Oakey recalls the girls would design leaf houses every fall using the leaves from the huge oak and maple trees in the playground.

Sailing boats we'd made in the puddles each spring.

Does anyone else remember a HUGE puddle in the gutter, with swirls of rainbows from the gasoline of cars. Several of us found that puddle in second grade, and couldn't resist. For the rest of the recesses that day (or perhaps that week?) we had to stay in with our head on our desk. Miss Buchholz had a system of names on the board with check marks underneath. Those of us that played in the puddle that day, made the list.

The vines covered with little sour wild grapes that grew along the fence.

The spiders and cocoons that were under the ledges by the windows.

The bright yellow leaves on the Sugar Maple near Jennifer Street.

Learning to do a two-person carry.

Judy Maginnis, Linda Vick, and Ruth Rohlwing
Judy Beckett and Merlin Ziegler's shirt are also in the picture. Probably 1952.


And when recess was over, the bell would ring and we'd run to get in line by the back door near the bubbler to go back inside.