Captive Accommodation……#46 (the 50’s)

School smoking policy - a silent publication

School smoking policy – a silent publication

Another closed campus, another Doggie Diner no longer accessible, Gary disappointed,  all the Oakland Public Schools espousing  closed campuses’.  Commencing with his  final semester at Frick Junior High,  the Doggie Diner and Foster Freeze across Foothill Blvd. from the Junior High proclaimed off-limits during school hours and to leave the school grounds requiring a permission slip.  Frick compensating for the luncheon menu loss by adding a Cafeteria Sandwich Bar area,  where hamburgers,  french fries, milk shakes and sundry candy items could be purchased.

Gary having looked forward to venturing off campus at Castlemont for lunch, especially to the malt shop in the 8300 block of MacArthur Blvd,  a burger,  fountain establishment and a haven for teenager to congregate.  Recalling from earlier years  during his journey home from the Castlemont pool,  the doors being open, hearing the music, the teens dancing to the jukebox.   The Doggie Diner across from Castlemont also falling  victim to the campus student captivation imposed by the Oakland Public School’s new policy,  having succumbed to closure with its enactment.  There was no recourse, so with solitude resolve he made use of the school cafeteria with the rest of the captives.

Dale Spady and Gary

The young man was uncomfortable this noon hour,  a feeling of being under observation prevailed as he made his way beside the fenced-in oval track and football field,  heading in the direction of the swimming pool.   Along this route  groups of students were huddled in clusters,  several benches and trash containers abounded.  Gary looking for a recognizable acquaintance, it was his first time in this area.   Across the way an acknowledge figure was standing, grasping with his fingers the glowing pertinacity for his presence, raising the fixture to his lips, the figure inhaled the clouded gray mist that exited from the cigarette.  Gary halted,  greeting his friend Dale Spady,  having arrived at what was commonly referred to as  The Smoking Alley.

Since the closing of the campus, Castlemont providing a supervised smoking area for the student body,  students being allowed to smoke before the start of morning class and during the lunch hour with a staff member present for oversight. The openness of smoking on campus concerned the teen, it wasn’t like he was performing something reprehensible,  but troubling in that it was something he didn’t want publicized.  This initial feeling began to lift upon recognizing the number of pronounced students and members of the teaching staff who acceded in the enjoyment of a cigarette.  The association with the smokers endowed a sense of being a constituent with these affluent upper classmen, but the youth knew the reality, this was all a pretense for justification.

Gary was not aware of the school smoking policy until after his arrival and the subject was never brought to discussion at home or mentioned to his nonsmoking friends, although this unspoken word had a silent publication.    Gary concluding: accommodation sometimes dictates engagement.


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