Double Dutch

I went to school in the city, with desegregation and diverse playgrounds. Sometimes I hung with a group of girls who could REALLY jumprope. We usually played “Queen Bee” –a sort of tag/follow the leader game in and around the jumprope and the twirlers. I could compete, but I was rarely “Queen Bee.” When they did Double Dutch—with two ropes at once—-they twirled so that you could hardly see the ropes…and their feet danced so fast—it was SOMETHING. And my feet—not speedy enough, sometimes close, but my awkward whitegirl form was enough to send them into peals of laughter. It wasn’t quite as pathetic as it sounds—and they weren’t exactly cruel. I think they sort of admired that I was willing to look like such a fool. But they were doubled over, in an almost-wet-your-pants kind of laughter. Some days I played kick ball with the boys, and I wasn’t the queen bee over there either, but I could catch the kickball, so they let me play. And sometimes I played this tag game on the manhole covers, back by the school power plant. I remember some nasty fights at that school, and it was a little bit of a jungle of tough playground politics, but I’m sort of proud of that goofy looking freckled girl with crooked glasses that was me. I learned to manage just fine, and it was just OK.

15 years later, I found myself after school one day jump roping with other teachers in the gym. There…I learned Double Dutch! So very empowering! I LOVED it that I could do it. (maybe still my form would have set Charlene and Shirley and the others off, I’ve long since lost track of them). It wasn’t even that hard. I vowed that my children were going to learn Double Dutch…. and their friends…. and my nieces and nephews. Kind of a mission…

So here at Tuscarora, in the basket by the Trading Post, there are two jumpropes. If you want, I’ll teach you. I’ll bet you can do it…just check out Mike. Would you have believed it? Shelby can even dribble the basketball at the same time. But most of us aren’t exactly graceful, speedy, or doing the magic dance that those girls at Field School could do. But we can do Double Dutch, and we manage just fine.