I have been blogging for a really realy long time. So long, in fact, that I can now recycle some of my posts. Here's my May fave from 2006!Cunningham Park...1960-something...May 1
In an era long before security guards and metal detectors were fixtures in the Queens public schools, the teachers used to gather the entire six grade class for a trek to the park to do the annual "maypole dance." Every May 1 brings this obscure fact up to the front of my memory bank.
Eager 12 year olds would dress in their "assembly clothes" (white shirts, red ties -- even the girls -- which probably contributed to many a sexual identity crisis) and march the two blocks to Cunningham Park. Loud music played, as the obedient kids wove colorful ribbons around and around the pole. Then they went back to their classrooms.
What was so wonderful about this spring ritual -- and what does it have to do with anything even remotely related to business/life?
- I suppose, on some level, it taught the value of teamwork. If you did not cooperate fully with your peers in the "over-under" dance, you could potentially end up strangling yourself with a yard of satin.
- It got everyone out-of-doors to enjoy the wonderful spring weather.
- A precursor to the "corporate offsite," it involved kids from across the school district. Each school had its own pole and there was a strong sense of uncompetitive comraderie.
- It was a meaningless yet fun tradition. It was something we aspired to. Younger grades eagerly awaited the special year when they would be old enough to do the maypole dance.
Unfortunately, the maypole dance was discontinued the year my friends and I reached sixth grade. Perhaps the school administration realized that the dance was rumored to have its roots in a pagan ritual (see below). Or, maybe our generation had become too unruly to organize, or the NY Board of Ed had simply cut maypoles out of the annual budget.
Well, another May 1 has rolled around. And there will be no maypole dancing for me (unless, of course, I opt to travel to French Lick, Indiana, where the ritual is apparently still alive and well). I have had to learn lessons of cooperation and the value of fresh air and traditions in other ways throughout my life. But if anyone in the NY area is scheduling a maypole dance next year, please be sure to add me to the guest list!For more on the origins of the Maypole dance