Some of the things I carried to school in my pockets when I was a boy would be confiscated today.
At best, I would be sent home with a three-day suspension to contemplate carrying such contraband.
A few of the things in my pockets might now result in a student being hauled to a juvenile detention center.
Even if the things I carried had disturbed administrators, I don’t know where they would have found a juvenile detention center.
I suppose such things existed somewhere, but I never heard of a kid from Labadieville being sent to one in the 1950s.
The pocket knife that was always in my jeans surely would get me reported to a principal today.
Every boy didn’t carry one, but they were prized possessions for the many of us who did.
My father had taught me how to use it, cutting away from my body so that I didn’t slice a finger. I still have a Case pocket knife that he gave me. Actually, out of tradition, he sold it to me for a penny because to give a knife as a present risked severing a friendship.
Fights did break out at school from time to time, but nobody ever pulled a knife. That would have been unthinkable.
Another thing that often showed up in my pockets at school were BBs.
They were ever present in my pants pockets from the time I got my first Daisy lever-action air rifle when I was 6. I dumped them daily from my pockets into my jar of marbles and back again as I took my marbles to school for our daily games in the dirt.
What might cause a lockdown and search of lockers at school today were the .22 cartridges. When I reached what is now considered junior-high age, I sometimes, without thinking, scraped them off the dresser along with my change when rushing to school.
Like pocket knives, guns were part of Southern culture for a kid growing up in the country in the decade after WWII. Parental instruction went with the guns, which were used for hunting, sport shooting and slaying water moccasins or possums that got into the hen house.
When I reached into a jacket pocket, matches were another thing that often came out. I didn’t carry them to burn down the school or even to light a cigarette in the restroom.
I had been taught that matches were something you should never be caught without when hunting, fishing or hiking. I never gave any thought to taking them out of a jacket before I went to school.
Considering the horrible things that have happened in schools in recent decades, the proscription of such items in the pockets of students today is laudable.
Still, for those of us who grew up in a different generation and culture, the lost innocence is sad.