Friday Filler

Random memories for your amusement or annoyance.


I was wasting away the time watching Graham Norton clips when I saw this one.

Which reminded me of my favorite school chaperone Mr. B.

During high school I was in the Model U.N. club. We would have mock sessions at universities throughout my home state of PA. The best was when we got to leave our neck of the woods and head south to Duke University.

Mr. B would load a bunch of high schoolers in a van for the seven hour drive and off we would go for three days of fun. On one trip back we were making really good time and he asked if we wanted to take a tour of a manufacturing facility. Everyone agreed and off we went. We pulled up to the plant and shuffled our way in. Only then did it hit us. This was where they made Marlboro cigarettes. Mr. B took a bunch of high schoolers on a tram tour of Phillip Morris.

We got to visit the gift store afterwards. I don’t remember the ins and outs of how it was paid for but I got a t-shirt with the Marlboro logo. I know other people got stuff but the memory is a little fuzzy. I don’t think that would be possible nowadays.

And we won’t even get into the fact that they gave hormonal teenagers adjoining rooms at the hotel we stayed at.

Another fun fact is this is the same man who let us run loose in NYC for 3 hours after we toured the U.N. building. We were told to be back by a certain time because the bus would leave with or without us. We believed him.

I loved that guy.



  1. I had a 5th grade teacher who took a bunch of us on a weekend camping trip on an island at the end of the school year.  In order to qualify for the trip you had to do something like 20 book reports in the 4th quarter of the school year.  It was a lot of fun.  This was the same teacher who taught us basic life skills like how to manage a checking account by creating a mock economy that only existed within his classroom.  Everybody got paid on Friday for doing their job (going to school), had bank accounts and checkbooks.  His students could buy or sell anything of their own with the fake money.  Then at the end of the school year he brought in a shitload of candy and held an auction for the kids to bid on so he could get all the money back.  I’m willing to bet that he sprung for all the materials out of his own money because I doubt he could have done all the other stuff with whatever bullshit budget he was given each year.

  2. On our eighth grade field trip, I held Peggy O’Reilly’s hand on the train all the way home and the chaperone, Miss DeLisi, looked the other way.  She had freckles.  Peggy, that is, not Miss DeLisi.

  3. I don’t remember any of my chaperones growing up but I have many memories of being a chaperone for my daughter’s field trips.  The most memorable was riding the bus and having a little boy named Elliott sit next to me on the bus.  I knew his family a little and that his parents were getting a divorce but had never had a conversation with him.  I think the kids were in the 3rd or 4th grade at the time and those bus trips were always a bit loud.  Anyways, Elliott decided to start up a conversation with me that went something like this…I had a cat, his name was …but he died.  Then, I had a dog, his name was … but then he died.  This went on for awhile until he said, I had a grandmother …I was in my head thinking  NO, PLEASE DON’T TEL ME SHE DIED TOO!  Sure enough, she died too.  My daughter told Elliott that story when they were in high school and he didn’t remember it or me at all but I will never forget that bus ride!

    • I’ve chaperoned a few field trips and I remember one time being assigned in my group a boy who had a reputation as a troublemaker.

      It turned out he was just fine this time around. When the trip was over I went up to his teacher and said “I just wanted to report that so and so was…”

      I could see his teacher tensing up in expectation of some horror story

      “… helpful and no problem” and I could see the wave of relief wash over her.

      It’s a tough job.

      • I’ve had similar situations helping in the classroom.  It was mostly moms that would help so when I would show up I could tell which of the boys didn’t have a positive male role model.  Not that I am that but I can fake it!  They would gravitate to me and dominate my time and attention.  Not in a bad way & they would never act up but I could tell they just needed attention from a man that cared and listened to them.

  4. Not a chaperone story, but a sketchy teacher story.

    My grade school had the set up where k-4th you had the same teacher for all the subjects (except PE, art, & music) and then 5-8 there were specialized teachers by subject matter. So I had the same math teacher for 4 years, etc etc.

    Anyways. The science teacher quit right before 6th grade started and somehow my catholic grade school decided a retired truck driver with no experience teaching nor a background in science was good enough for 5-8 science classes.

    I remember he brought in pure grain alcohol and had us use it to strip clorophyll from leaves. In retrospect, that really isn’t appropriate for 6th graders.

      • Great fun!

        In 7th grade my parents wouldn’t let me go on a day of service school trip because they didn’t want me going to sketchy parts of town for volunteering, so I had to spend all day at school with nothing to do.

        That same teacher was like “hey the principal wants me to put together all these wall mounts for the new tvs. If you put those together, I’ll bring you a few sodas.” This was for the big, heavy tvs that we used in the mid 90s still.

        Anyways, I guess I did okay assembling those because to my knowledge none of them fell off the walls.

    • Wait, were the leaves that you used mint leaves, and before adding the alcohol you added some lime and sugar and gently muddled them, then added ice and seltzer? Because that sounds like solid science.

    • We really only did field trips in Elementary School and I don’t remember the chaperones. By Middle and High School I was already part of the stoner crowd so I didn’t do any extracurriculars that would have involved chaperones.

  5. Yours truly lost a first grader during a catholic school Christmas song concert in 8th grade. We were the chaperones and had to walk the first graders across the parking lot from the school to the church basement, and then back again to the school cafeteria after they sang their songs.

    The kid decided to break from the line and run off into the church pew to sit with her parents, and I was spazzing because I couldn’t find the kid. Luckily one of the adults saw her in the audience and told me to stop worrying.

  6. When I was 17, I chaperoned several field trips for my little sister’s 1st grade class. There was one trip to the Field Museum in Chicago that I particularly remember because my sister and her friends were arguing over who got to hold my hands at the museum. We ended up with a sort of flying wedge of small girls with me at the center because we agreed that each girl could hold one of my fingers. I have no idea how I didn’t end up with broken fingers that day!

    When I was in 8th grade, we went on a trip to Washington, D.C. The teacher that I had a MASSIVE crush on was one of the chaperones, and I now realize that I probably embarrassed not only myself but him, too, with all of my (in hindsight, blatantly obvious) ridiculous flirting. At the time, of course, I thought I was a master of subtlety, but yeah… everyone knew I was crazy over him.

  7. School trips to Disney World. Back in the day, when Disney didn’t cost hundreds of dollars per day, schools frequently took students there for “field trips,” usually an end-of-the-year reward. People laugh but I’ve probably been to the Magic Kingdom 50 times. You could blindfold me and drop me anywhere and I could navigate to any other point just by sound and smell.

    Anyways, this continued up into high school (called Grad Nights) where they’d keep the park open all night and high school kids could run around and do rides and get into trouble. Students quickly found out:

    1. Disney had massive surveillance capability, even back then. The majority of the park was/is being watched (it’s probably WAY more sophisticated now). So getting naked on Space Mountain is a bad idea. Yes, it was tried. It used to be possible to find some secluded shrubbery for various activities, but you were taking a big chance.

    2. Disney had a major security presence. One student of my acquaintance got picked up for shoplifting, because Disney had plainclothes security roaming the stores. It’s tough to do much to a kid other than kick them out, but they would do that. Depending on your age, you’d pull a chaperone out of the park with you who had to say with you either on the bus or in a security “holding area.” Awkward, ’cause the chaperone would be pissed.

    3. They put you through some scrutiny, but not the searches and scans you get now. So it was possible to smuggle in alcohol, but they checked purses. (Grad Nights were for high school, remember). So you had to put flasks/bottles down your pants and so forth. Again, you’re taking a chance. You paid your money and if you got caught they’d kick you out. So you’d spend the rest of the night sitting on the schoolbus if you were lucky and the driver was there to let you in. I’m not sure where they all went, but most didn’t stay with the bus all night. Otherwise you went to a security holding area until you got claimed. With high school, you might end up pulling out a chaperone to sit with you and you might not. It was a bit more loose back then.

    4. There was no hand stamp and getting back in (we used to mark ourselves with ink to prove we paid to be in a venue, young people) for obvious reasons. For Grad Nights, once you were in the park you were there until dawn.

    But damn, we loved that stuff.

    • I just realized that if you didn’t ride Space Mountain in the 80s you probably are thinking “How did shenanigans occur?” and “That dude is full of shit.” Aah, children, back then you sat two to a seat with one person in front, more or less in the other’s lap. You held onto handles but you were secured with just a seatbelt. With appropriate clothing you could indeed engage, but you only had a couple of minutes if they didn’t catch you. It’s not a long ride, unless it stops, which it occasionally did. And obviously if the object of your affection was seated in your lap, even if you didn’t go for broke there was lots of opportunity for groping. THAT occurred pretty much constantly.

      And yes, there was a certain awkwardness if you were riding with a buddy or a sibling. They did not force strangers to share a seat.

      In about 1989 or 1990 (?) they moved to single-person cars with shoulder bars that come down and restrain you.

    • We had a field trip in 3rd grade to Six Flags Mid-America (about a 45 min drive) which we were super excited about!

      Turned out that it was before the rides were open for the year and all we saw was the dolphin show. They stopped having a dolphin show sometime since then, I don’t know when.

      Eighth graders always had a “mystery trip” which lasted a whole day and involved going to a few places. The classes for several years before mine all ended the day at Six Flags. My year, the second half of the mystery trip day was spent at a county park which is literally across the fucking street from Six Flags. So we got all excited to take I-44 west, get off at the Six Flags exit, drive right up to the gates, then keep on driving…over to a fucking park.

  8. @brightersideoflife I have some seriously sketchy teacher stories. Including a teacher who took my almost 18 yr old sister out on their first date the day after graduation! They dated the whole summer until she went away to college. He was young, I think it was his first teaching job but still…gross.

    • One of my college friends had a girl at her all-girls high school “start” dating one of their teachers the day after graduation.

      I also had a college roommate from northern Missouri (don’t go there) with a 16 yr old cousin who married the high school softball coach in his 30s and gosh her family just thought he was the nicest man and no one seemed to think there was anything problematic about it.

      I did ask if the cousin at least was a starter on the softball team after that, because the high school didn’t even get rid of the coach for marrying a student.

    • Weirdly, I don’t have a lot of creepy student/teacher stories. Which is hard to believe coming from rural Florida. The only one I’ve got is there was a student in my high school who ran a prostitution ring. The services were allegedly available to teachers but I did not know of any who participated. It was kind of an open secret but my understanding was there was a pretty extensive vetting process, plus of course the fees required. You had to know somebody who would vouch for you, in other words. The drug dealers worked on the same system.

      I remember when I saw Risky Business thinking, yeah, amateur.

  9. i had great teachers in high school

    after i decided to not go there for 6 months my mom decided to call the school and ask them how i was doing

    turns out im a great student…quiet and never any trouble

    they hadnt actually noticed me not being there….lol

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