Song Lyric Sunday: Smokin in the Boys Room

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.According to newepicauthor, this week’s theme is “school/books/learning.” In case you’re wondering, I never smoked in the boys’ room. For one thing, I wasn’t a boy, and for another, after learning in elementary school that smoking is bad for you, I decided not to do it. When I was a kid, though, I liked to listen to this song because it allowed me to be bad vicariously and not risk getting into trouble.

How about you? Did you ever smoke in the boys’ room or the girls’ room? Were you ever caught? I hope this song brings back memories for you as it does for me.

Smokin in the Boys’ Room–Brownsville Station

How you doin’ out there? Ya ever seem to have one of those days
Where it just seems like everybody’s gettin’ on your case?
From your teacher all the way down to your best girlfriend?
Well, ya know, I used to have ’em just about all the time
But I found a way to get out of ’em
Let me tell you about it!
Sitting in the classroom, thinking it’s a drag
Listening to the teacher rap, just ain’t my bag
The noon bells rings, you know that’s my cue
I’m gonna meet the boys on floor number two!
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Now, teacher, don’t you fill me up with your rules
But everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school
Checkin’ out the halls, makin’ sure the coast is clear
Lookin’ in the stalls, “No, there ain’t nobody here!”
Oh, my buddy Fang, and me and Paul
To get caught would surely be the death of us all
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Now, teacher, don’t you fill me up with your rules
But everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in schoolAll right!
Oh, put me to work, in the school book store
Check out counter and I got bored
Teacher was lookin’ for me all around
Two hours later, you know where I was foundSmokin’ in the boys’ room (Yes indeed, I was)
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Now, teacher, don’t you fill me up with your rules
But everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in schoolOne mo’!
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Oh, smokin’ in the boys’ room
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Now, teacher, I am fully aware of the rules
And everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school!
Songwriters: Cub Koda / Michael Lutz
Smokin’ In the Boy’s Room lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc


My Books


My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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Walking to School

One thing on many parents’ minds is how their children will get to and from school now that classes are in full swing. Some students take the bus while others are driven, but how many children walk to school anymore?

During the first six years of my education in the 1960’s and early 70’s, we were living in Tucson, Arizona. Because of my visual impairment, I spent the first five and a half years at a state school for the blind before being mainstreamed into a public school. Because these facilities were too far to walk, and there was no bus, my parents drove me to and from school each day. However, I read stories about other children walking to and from school and longed to be able to do that.

When we moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, in 1973, my wish came true. For the first couple of years we lived there, our house was at the top of a hill, and the elementary school my brother and I attended was at the bottom. During sixth-grade, I delighted in walking to and from school with other kids.
When I started seventh grade, the junior high school was farther away. Dad wanted me to walk, but Mother prevailed, and I took the bus. I did walk half a mile to and from the bus stop each day, and that was fun.

In the spring of my eighth grade year, we moved to another house that was not within a school bus route. This time, Dad said I could walk, and Mother didn’t argue. It was a mile, the longest I’d ever walked. The route took me through downtown, so when Dad walked with me, he showed me how to cross busy streets with traffic lights by listening and watching the direction the vehicles were traveling.

Once I got the hang of it, I loved the long walk to and from school. I often stopped downtown, either at Brown Drug or The Palace Café, and had a milkshake. That was my after-school snack.

High school was a different matter. My main obstacle was a busy street with no four-way stop sign or light. At this point, I was given a cane that I held in front of me while standing at the corner in the hope that someone would stop. Hardly anyone did, and I often waited a long time for a break in traffic before dashing across.

After that, it was smooth sailing, through the park and up the hill. Thanks to that intersection, though, I soon lost interest in walking, especially in winter when the boardwalk up the hill was slick with snow and ice, and there was no railing. I was only too happy when my parents started driving me to and from school each day, although I could tell my father was disappointed.

I understand his disappointment. Because he had to walk to school every day as a kid, it was only fair that his children should do the same. I wish I’d continued to brave that intersection. Better yet, I could have taken a longer route.

In the good old days, many children in rural areas walked over a mile to and from school each day. I remember reading in The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder about Laura and her sister walking home from school one day during a raging blizard.

Nowadays, I see children getting off of school buses every day but rarely encounter them walking to or from school. Because of security concerns, real or imagined, many parents are too over-protective. This is sad. Whatever happened to the good old days?


Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
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Thursday Book Feature: Wonder


by R. J. Palacio

Copyright 2012.

For the first four years of his education, August, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder resulting in severe facial deformity, was home-schooled. As this book opens, he is told that he will be starting fifth grade at a prep school near their home in River Heights, a suburb of Manhattan, New York. Naturally, he is reluctant to go, and as you can imagine, he has a hard time fitting in with other kids. This story is told from several points of view including August’s sister and his best friend, a couple of his sister’s friends, and of course August himself. At the end, there’s a list of sayings August’s teacher writes on the blackboard each month during the school year.

One thing I liked about the Brilliance Audio production of this book was how each of the three narrators portrayed each character from who’s point of view they were reading the story, as well as other minor characters. As I listened, I was taken back to my own school days, especially my experiences with starting junior high in a new school. In the good old days, junior high was similar to middle school now in that students move from one classroom to another every hour and have lockers. The book also helped me put those experiences in perspective. Because of my visual impairment, like August, I wasn’t popular at first, but at least kids weren’t screaming and running away from me or calling me a freak.

Once I got into this book, it was hard to put down. I laughed and got mad and was almost moved to tears by the ending. By telling the story from the first person point of view of each of the major characters, the author writes in a style that identifies with both kids and adults. For this reason, this book should be required reading for students from fifth grade up. Even adults can learn, from this book, lessons about open-mindedness and acceptance of others not like us.


Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

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School Memories

The following poem is a triptych. It’s based on an art form that involves drawing three related pictures on three canvases side by side. The three sections of a triptych can be placed side by side in poetic form or one below the other in paragraph form. I was inspired to do mine in paragraph form after reading a diptych at . A diptych is like a triptych except it has two sections instead of three. Now, here’s my triptych.






The three-story red brick building gleams in the sunlight. On the front lawn stands a jungle gym, no swings, no merry-go-round. There can be nothing with moving parts for children might get hurt. Because of my low vision, I fell and scraped my knees many times while playing kickball on the cement play area. One girl with good eyes hurt her back when she fell off the jungle gym. Now, the cries of children fill the early fall morning air. The bell’s peel silences the din. We sixth-graders hurry to get in line so we can march into the building and begin our day.




On a foggy day with rain predicted, the yellow school bus pulls up in front of another red brick building with a playing field in back. I was never much for sports, never attended games, didn’t even try out for cheerleading, having been told, “You can’t do this because you can’t see.” I hated gym, math, science, home economics. I couldn’t throw a ball to save my soul, tell you the sum of an equation, or explain chemical compounds, couldn’t even sew. I could play the piano and sing, entertained during study hall, performed in the glee club and orchestra but didn’t earn grades where they mattered. Now as an eighth-grader, I emerge from the yellow bus, resigned to starting another day in junior high.




Several red brick buildings cluster together: a main classroom building, a science and agriculture building, a gym, and a separate building containing an auditorium, swimming pool, smaller gym, and classrooms for music, art, ROTC and other subjects. Not required to take home economics and P.E. or too much math or science, I flourished in English, literature, and other subjects I liked. Wanting to be in theater like my parents, I acted in plays, participated in the speech team, won several awards. I wanted to be a singer, was awarded second place in a talent competition, was given a standing ovation, as I marched across the stage to receive my diploma. Instead of telling me I couldn’t do it because I couldn’t see, they said, “Let’s figure out how you can do it, even though you can’t see.” Now, on a frosty September morning, my footsteps on the board walk climbing the hill resound with joy, as I approach the remaining years of my public education.



Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author


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Pop in School?

In parts of the country, school is already starting this week. My brother in Florida is a professor at the university in Jupiter. His new wife teaches elementary school. Between them, they have five kids ranging in age from seventeen to ten. The whole family is starting school this week.

A while back, I read on The Writer’s Almanac a poem called “They’re Taking Chocolate Milk off the Menu.” You can read it at . This inspired the following two poems from That’s Life: New and Selected Poems. As you’ll note, they contradict each other. After reading them, you can weigh in with your opinion.


Without the caffeine,

students would doze, not learn a thing.

If kids could bring soda to class,

they would be more attentive, able to concentrate.

Teachers may have belching contests on their hands,

but that just goes with the territory.


It never occurred to me

to buy a can from the machine for consumption in class.

If I were to go back to high school,

I would take Dr. Pepper to Speech,

let the top’s pop fill the air,

stand, deliver with a belch.




about pop in school.

Loaded with sugar, caffeine,

not good for kids,

not conducive to learning,

it must be eliminated.

Too many students climb walls.

We must start somewhere,

no more pop in school.

What do you think about pop in school?

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver and That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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