• 79°

Memories and Musings: A note-passing parade

by Gene Gallelli

Note-passing in today’s busy electronic and automated classrooms is just not as much fun as it was in bygone, chalkboard days. Oh sure, it takes dexterity and knowledge of the miniscule cellphone keyboard to ask the pretty blonde in the first row for a movie date; but, heck, anyone can do that.

Back in the 50s, note passing was an honored rite-of-passage for the fearless few who dared to risk principal’s-office exile for a history test answer or a date with a cute cheerleader.

The deception skills began in fifth or sixth grade with Note Taking 101, usually taught by class sweetheart, Mary, or future bathroom smoker, Dominic. You had to be a preordained cheerleader or athlete to be in Mary’s class, or doomed to matriculate in Dominic’s. The former’s perfectly-folded prose were often illustrated and scented, while the latter’s were punctuation and spelling nightmares. (Dominic wrote “hat” for hate, “fiend” for friend, and “lov” for loathe, often causing obvious and serious miscommunications that resulted in brawls during recess or after school.)

Note Taking 202 in junior high school was considered boring: Mary’s friends did become the expected cheerleaders and athletes, perfecting the basic note-passing skills, while Dominic’s followers continued to misspell friend, hate, and loathe, and giving black eyes to their listed enemies.

High school, however, is where Note Taking 303 allowed the favored few to achieve stardom and the recognition they deserved. While appearing to pay attention in class, Mary and her apprentices would wait until the teacher turned to write on the board, then tap the person in front the required number of times — taps were allocated based on note content — then execute a left- or right-handed pass until the message reached the intended recipient. Dominic, on the other hand, would wrap his messages and a marble into a sheet of note book paper and throw it at your head.

Other note-passing variations like the Book Drop, Aisle Slide, and Bathroom Exchange were innovative additions to the basic techniques. Unfortunately, when applying the Bathroom Exchange, Dominic would scratch his notes directly on the bathroom stall with a jack knife. He was usually caught because of his spelling.

Note passing in today’s classrooms only requires having a cellphone and a memorized list of phone numbers. Back-in-the-day, it required slight-of-hand, true timing, and fairy-like finesse.

Of course for a few, it only required a jack knife and a bag of marbles.

News

Kill Devil Hills Police Department warns of phone scam

News

Ocracoke Express passenger ferry service starts Monday, reservations now available

News

American mink: Seldom seen on Pea Island

News

Searchers comb river for missing tubers after group goes over dam in NC

News

Teen sleeping in hammock attacked by bear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Crime

North Carolina man convicted by federal jury of drug and firearm charges

Lifestyles

Lifeguards enjoy Lions fish fry

News

Small plane crashes near North Carolina drag strip, claiming life of pilot

Crime

North Carolina man accused of kidnapping hoax to scam grandparents

Lifestyles

The Little Free Pantry: Helping to fight hunger in Dare County

Currituck

Moyock residents share flooding concerns

News

Three dead, two missing after tubers go over North Carolina dam

News

Columbia officials issue reminder about what goes down drains

News

Veterans’ tax exemption expanded in bill clearing North Carolina House

News

Child of North Carolina police officer dies in shooting

Crime

North Carolina man faces multiple charges after hitting police cars, sparking chase

Currituck

Currituck approves 2021-22 budget, wild horse management agreement

Crime

Two Virginia men arrested after vehicle pursuit from Nags Head to Roanoke Island

Business

Donation supports this year’s Inshore Slam

News

North Carolina election bills unlikely to become laws after Senate votes

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to over 28 years in prison for drug and firearm charges

News

Several speak out against mask requirements at Dare County Schools

News

Federal appeals court refuses to reinstate North Carolina abortion ban

Crime

North Carolina man accused of firing at police substation charged in deaths of family members