[400/441] Cherry Bomb

I have several different references for this post, and I’ll try to make it a fairly quick one.  The thing that inspired the post was a Mondegreen of the John Mellencamp song.  So, you may enjoy listening to it while reading the post.

Although I probably heard this song throughout my elementary school years, “cherry bomb” was much more of a thing associated with Four Square… and recess.

A four-square game. Photo credit Oakland Unified School District, encompass.ousd.k12.ca.us/images/four_square.jpg

I think that Four Square was the quintessential recess playground game in elementary school.  I remember playing it with rules where you had to catch the ball after it bounced when I lived in Fort Dodge.  The “Ace” square got to make up the rules, and there were plenty of interesting ones that I can’t recall at this point.

This, or racquetless racquetball (using a four-square ball) were the only games that were available on Porch Days at Humann Elementary School.  Recess there was either Outside, Inside, or Porch, depending on the weather.  Rain, for example, would institute a Porch Day, but snow or cold temperatures would make Inside Days.  Porch Days were my least favorite, and during the winter, Inside Days were my favorite.  (Actually, in fifth grade, there was an option to stay inside to do homework in lieu of going outside for recess.  I exercised that option a few times.)

There was also a Four Square setup on the southeast corner of the social hall at the synagogue, and the rules for that game during recess got even crazier, since Cherry Bombs were more effective with essentially no ceiling.  Though I wasn’t athletic whatsoever, it was a game that you don’t need athletic prowess quite as much as, oh, say, basketball.

And thinking of the cherry also reminds me of the Cherry-In-A-Spoon public art.  There was a picture of that in Mr. Fisher’s room, where I did art in 4th and 5th grades.  It was a room in view of the north courtyard of the school, which was overgrown in weeds.

Before I get to my Mondegreen point, I pause for input from the readers.  What was your favorite game or activity to play during recess in school?

Now to the Mondegreen point.  The chorus of Mellencamp’s song actually starts as follows:

“That’s when a sport was a sport
And groovin’ was groovin’
And dancin’ meant everything
We were young and we were improvin'”

Well, I used to hear them as,

“That’s when I spoke, when I spoke; It’s cruel, it’s cruel; Dancing with everything; We were young and we were in movies.”

Well, the picture below should show why I chose this song: another way to mishear the first line in the chorus!

A bike wheeel with a spoke broken (look at the center of the picture to see the detached spoke)

“That’s when I broke, broke a spoke…”


Today is the four-hundredth day of Mission 441.  Forty-one days remain.  (Watch out for mambas!)



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