SAFETY PATROL CROSSING GUARD.SAFETY PATROL CROSSING GUARD. Have you ever been one in your elementary school? At Corpus Christi Cathedral was in it 5th, 6th grades. We had to get to school a little earlier than most kids, and set up in the kindergarten area on east side of school next to Upper Broadway. By setup, that is put on your official Safety Patrol bright belt, badge, and try to get best bamboo pole with no splinters.
The bamboo poles were actually cool, not sure where they came from but we had bamboos near crappy house on 2009 Antelope, those grew to good size maybe 10+ feet. Maybe the priests got them their. Would have been enough for all Catholic schools in Corpus Christi at time, as wild bamboos near the Big Ditch off Coke & Leopard.
Most of the Safety Patrol was guys, every now and then a girl would join. We would walk out two by two and go to our locations. Now when I first started, there was one person directly in front of school, another to north at Mestina & Upper Broadway, two near playground one for Mestina, one for Carancahua and then one across from both of those. So six total. The toughest location? Easily northbound on Carancahua as you had three rows of traffic, and in morning everyone going to work. The person other side of Mestina parking garage Wilson Tower side, had some people, but those bus riders coming from Leopard.
Yes, we poked each other with poles on butt, and when flag to flag stopping traffic, would make like light sabers decades before work light saber in American lexicon. Was fun, Serious but fun! Sometimes Monsignor Schmidt would stand out there with us and smoke his pipe. Not sure what was in it, smelled like bourbon type tobacco, and he would wave at cars passing.
The tough times were when it rained, many times associated with northers.
The wind blew straight from north down Carancahua, and you had to carefully watch people in the cars, try to make eye contact with them thru wipers, as you slowly, walked out with pole and flag that many times due to wind was vertical so they could not see the STOP on it. And you wearing smelly old yellow raincoats.
The best part was walking back to class after your job professionally done well, except poking each other's butts with pole, but going back into class and everyone already seated, you walk in, and people would stop to look up at you nun included, knowing you had been out saving lives. Ok, that is stretch, been out there like little cop. We didn't get to wear our badges and belt back to class. Left that in kindergarten room where all the tiny kiddies look at you like you just stopped Hurricane Celia with your STOP flag alone, mouths agape.
I had a certain strut leaving class a little early to go get ready for Safety Patrol, they gave us about 10 minutes, so when sister Berchmann, Sister Anita Jane Anderson or Sister Thomas called "Safety Patrol" I put my books up, strutted down aisle, to front, smiled at teacher like I was getting away with murder, and left. Downside was after 30 minutes out there, especially in evening, you come back, everyone gone, grab books, go home alone. Catch late Saxet Heights or Callallen bus, or if I took brother Tommy's bike that day, go unlock it at rails near cafeteria, and ride home.
At the end of the year, big movie for Safety Patrols at Center Theater downtown, got to see Tokyo destroyed twice different movies by Godzilla.
Free popcorn, free sodas, really felt sorry for the Center theater employees on those day, was overrun with rug rats. I don't remember the other movie and also don't remember it if was Safety Patrol for just Catholic parochial schools, or later public schools, as seemed to go on whole week so probably different.
That was in 1960s, early 1970s. Later some of my baseball team of kids, number 6 & 7, sorry, Noah & Jacob would be Safety Patrol here in Houston at Sherwood Elementary. Really proud of that but they didn't have the bamboo poles with yellow STOP flags on them in 2000s. And their intersections quite boring, but maybe more dangerous with people on phones even though signs say no phones in that area.
PHOTOS: Photo #1. Whats this? Whats this? As they say in Nightmare Before Christmas. My dad worked at All American Motors downtown on Water near Ship Ahoy and they were active in Safety Patrol. This is from 1969 in my collection, ACTION MAN! And came with a variety of small items like tshirt and safety hat. Can't believe I still have this.
Photo #2. With Wilson Tower looming, this is Carancahua looking north, the street in front of Enco is Mestina. Cathedral playground on right, and this corner was the most dangerous to work Safety Patrol with cars three rows headed towards Leopard northbound.
Photo #3. Well this would probably be loneliest safety patrol job in world with cows crossing, maybe goat, but there is the cool bamboo stick with STOP yellow flag on it!
Photo #4. This lonely crossing guard spot is Mestina & Upper Broadway, very few used it, but you could goof off and play with parking meter and many times lots of ants to stick pole into nest here. Eventually they quit sending a guard to this, and a little farther back near driveway for kids headed into downtown like I used to do. Just no traffic.
Photo #5. Son Jacob was proud Safety Patrol in Houston years ago. At end of school year they got huge sort of all you can eat ice cream party by Bluebell. They had in house movies too at school, so no theater so see Godzilla take out Mothra again.