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Kitchen Sink

Eyes Wide Open (UPDATED!)

May 27th, 2010

STACY won the Sony Digital Camera!




Toots at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Create little girl. Create and explore and discover and trot into this wonderful world wanting to know more.


Earlier this year Toots went on a field trip to get to know our community. This meant visits to the Stater Brother’s meat department, which of course opened the “Am I eating a ‘real’ cow?” question, to one-on-ones with Officer Friendly at the police station, to a walk-through at the local library. She came home that day googly-eyed and curious, and best of all, connected to what makes our little town go. Now she knew how we get our food, how we were protected, how we educate and entertain ourselves. Meat didn’t just appear on the table – it was first prepared by a butcher, then sold to us at the grocery store; policemen weren’t scary people with uniforms — they helped you cross the street; librarians realllly wanted you to finish that book report. I watched her put the dots together in her head, saw how she placed herself within the ecosystem of our neighborhood, and my little parental heart positively glowed. She was getting it: how we all fit together. The mesh. The order of things. And she felt safe, ensconced in that connectivity, but also aware that the there was a world beyond our suburban street.


I remembered when I first realized the world was bigger than my house. I was eight, maybe a shade younger, and my class went on a field trip to San Francisco’s Exploratorium. The bus ride alone, down a four-lane highway where cars scooted to and fro — where were they going? there must be millions of people! — and through neighborhoods with the homeless panning for money on street corners — opened my eyes to a life beyond mine. Then the Exploratorium. The insides of frogs! The sun is a star! The Earth isn’t flat! To put it in more present terms, it was as if I’d been in the Matrix and stepped out for an afternoon to wander in a world not my own. The sense of vastness to the universe moved me even at my tender young age. I’m sure it was then that I began to formulate how I wanted to travel within this vastness, who I wanted to be, where I would go. What a beautiful thing for a child. The possibilities.


There were other times. A trip to the Winchester Mystery Mansion, where the stirrings for my book in progress first began. Stairs to nowhere! Doors that led to brick walls! Peepholes to the maid’s quarters! Can you just imagine the neurons that started firing in my child brain? What delicious avenues that unfurled. God love the world, God love it, and all the crazy people and the sane people and the people who love and the people who don’t, and that we’re all here in all our crazy lovey sanity under the same sun and the Earth that is not flat. And the forest preserves! Our third-grade class went there often. The mountain horizon! The hidden burrows! The pebble-strewn paths that led beyond the hill! Which is all to say again: the possibilities. The “what?” that lay beyond.


We all need to know there is more. Every single one of us does. Especially as children when it’s essentially important to know the whole beautiful crazy world is out there and it’s for all of us, all of us.


So. What was the field trip that opened the world for you?


And also…Lunchables is running a universe-opening promotion where you can nominate a deserving classroom for one of 50 field trips. Just go here to do so.


Meanwhile, leave a comment HERE with your field trip story and on June 1 at noon, I’ll randomly choose a winner of a Sony DSC-W220 digital camera with which to capture the world beyond yours. But most of all? I think it’d be cool if you chose a classroom to receive an eye-opening field trip.


Just think of the possibilities.


« « Here We Go Again    |    Rewind » »

On May 27th, 2010, Jenn @ Juggling Life said:

I went on a airplane for L.A. to Sacramento in 4th grade. I remember standing in the Capitol Rotunda and being spellbound. I was in the place where a bill became a law! (Thank you Schoolhouse Rock).

On May 27th, 2010, Tweets that mention San Diego Momma » Blog Archive » Eyes Wide Open -- said:

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ilina Ewen and San Diego Momma, Debbie T. Lawrence. Debbie T. Lawrence said: RT @sandiegomomma: I'm giving away a Sony digital camera. But I require a story first. […]

On May 27th, 2010, Smalltown Mom said:

I can’t really remember much before I was 5, but after that I knew the world was big…

my mother and I would fly on Western Airlines to Minnesota in the summers

my dad took me to amazing places and events for many years

my grandmother took me to Hawaii when I was eleven

my aunt and uncle drove me across the US when I was twelve

priceless moments

…and my children are now world travelers.

On May 27th, 2010, The Frugal Hostess said:

I love this post. I feel guilty getting entered into the drawing because I really just want to compliment the post. HOWEVER. If you insist…. :) When I was in 5th grade, we had a sandwich-making contest to celebrate our unit on nutrition. I worked forever making two little faces out of pita pockets decorated with olive eyeballs and red pepper lips, and I was quite certain I would win. I didn’t, which hurt my feelings, but then we got to walk (walk! in the 80s!) to the local park, about four blocks away. We ate our sandwiches and played and tried to understand the dirty jokes that the bad boys made. We sat there for what seemed like hours, playing and talking. There wasn’t a lesson or a performance or anything else, just the biggest kids in the school being set free in a park on a pretty day. It was one of the first times that I felt myself, really felt or was aware of myself, growing up. Is that just the crazy talk of a failed sandwich artist?

On May 27th, 2010, Vixen said:

Seriously, shouldn’t all kids have to go the Winchester Mystery House once in their lives? I remember my first (and 2nd and 3rd) visits there like yesterday (not the 35+ yrs it really was). That place sparks the imagination like no place else.

On May 28th, 2010, Trish said:

When I was in the 5th grade my class went to Balboa Park everyday for a week. It was awesome to my 10 year old self! We hiked and learned about different plants – what was poisonious, what wasn’t. Learned about the various animals that lived in the park and went to a couple museums. To a kid who was born in San Diego and hadn’t ventured to far from it at that point in life, Balboa Park seemed like the woods! The forest! It was a great adventure. I hope CA is able to keep that field trip in the budget.

On May 28th, 2010, Kelly said:

When I was in the 5th grade our class went to D.C. We got on a bus at midnight (most of us without our parents) and traveled all night. I remember that I was very excited about the outfit I chose. It was a comfortable pair of high waisted, black, capri pants complete with suspenders and red converse tennis shoes. I looked…awesome? Anyway, no one slept on the bus ride. By the time we arrived for our day of sight seeing, we kids were in rare form. As a group, we discovered a vending machine that dispensed Jolt Cola and a souvenir shop that sold Bart Simpson t-shirts. I am sure we looked like a wild bunch of hooligans. Our tour took us to the capital building and we were seated in this balcony that over looked the senate (?) floor. It was really high and I kept falling asleep. As my head fell forward I would wake up with a jolt because I felt like I was going to go over the edge and plummet to my death. Being from the Youngstown, Ohio area we got meet Congressman Jim Trafficant (google him if you want a laugh) and he nearly crushed my little friend in a photo-op hug. Our last stop of the day was the statue of Iwo Jima. It had started to rain and it was dark and I got separated from my teacher. It was the scariest thirty seconds of my life, but when I found the bus on my own and I didn’t die; I instantly became more confident and less frightened of the big bad world. It was a great trip!

On May 28th, 2010, Ginger said:

I remember in 4th grade we had our first sleep-away field trip near Yosemite. It was up to me to shower, eat, sleep, learn, etc and it was a trip I’ll never forget. I think I realized then that my life is up to me. Heavy concept for a 4th grade field trip, but true. I could be dirty, or I could be clean. I could ditch the sessions, or I could go and kiss a banana slug. :)

On May 28th, 2010, Christina said:

Mine was the San Diego Zoo when I was 6. It was one of the first bus rides that I remember and whoa- I didn’t have to wear a SEAT BELT!?
I fed a giraffe, pet an elephant, high-fived a monkey.. We ate lunch with a Zoo Keeper and asked every question you would expect a group of 6-year-olds to ask.
But, the best part was eating monkey chow. It’s like dog kibbles but tasted much better.
Baby’s up… that’s all folks.

On May 28th, 2010, Laurie said:

I lived in a small town growing up. The world seemed very small to me, driving an hour into the “big city” was a big deal. But when I was in grade 7, I took the most memorable field trip of my school years. I went to the ’88 Olympics in Calgary for three days. The immenseness of the events, the distance we had to drive, it all amazed me. The opportunity to be part of the spirit of the olympics was something I’ll never forget.

On May 28th, 2010, Stacy said:

How fantastic it was going to be (in 7th grade)floating around in the big blue ocean watching whales swimming around us. not so fun after all, standing at the side of the boat staring at the horizon trying my hardest not to vomit. i was so concerned about NOT embarrasing myself and didn’t enjoy the whales that popped up for maybe 30 seconds. What did it open my eyes to?
I don’t belong on the water!

On May 28th, 2010, Dallas said:

My senior year in high school, our principal decided he was going to crack down on senior skip day — if you skipped school on that day, you didn’t walk for graduation. We were crushed — I know going to school is important but it had always been a major tradition, blahblahblah.

SO, my AP Environmental Science teacher planned a field trip to the local river, so we could do water quality testing. We water quality tested for half an hour, and then had a huge cookout, swam in the river, took pictures, traipsed around, and just generally had a blast.

A school-condoned field trip that turned into one of the best days of high school. She was sweet to do that for us, I think.

On May 29th, 2010, Da Goddess said:

In 4th grade, Mr. Bankhead and Mr. Clark took our classes on a trip from San Diego to San Francisco and Sacramento. We got to fly up to San Francisco and we stayed at a rather interesting motel in a somewhat seedy part of town. The parents who went as chaperones tried to keep the boys and the girls apart, but the boys still found a way to come hang out with us girls (nothing happened, they just came to hang out to defy authority).

Best part of San Francisco wasn’t the wharf or the museums. No no. For me, it was getting to meet the kids we’d been corresponding with for months and months. Most were Chinese and I do believe that was the whole point, that we get to know kids whose culture was different from ours. We ate lunch with them — still crummy cafeteria food, but it was IN SAN FRANCISCO! We played games. We had recess. We ran around and giggled and read stories together. It was fun.

Even though I’d grown up (as much as you can grow up by 4th grade) with two best friends who were Japanese, somehow having new friends who were Chinese seemed very different. Maybe it was because they all spoke Chinese in addition to English. Maybe it was because they live “so far away” from us. I don’t know. But I do remember this feeling that washed over me as I realized my world was suddenly a lot larger than it had been even 24 hours before.

While I enjoyed Sacramento and spent a fair amount of time dreaming of becoming a legislator (hey, I was in 4th grade! Anything was possible and I liked the idea of making laws), it couldn’t compare to meeting the kids in San Francisco.

On May 29th, 2010, Susie Kline said:

My eye-opening field trip happened a few years ago when my sister took me and my family to Fort Scott, Kansas. It was fascinating see how the civil war-era soldiers lived and survived. I don’t think I could have done it!

On May 29th, 2010, JenniferfromLaJolla said:

I grew up in Richmond, Virginia. Great place to live as a kid–especially if you are interested in U.S. history. We traveled frequently to D.C., Williamsburg and Monticello (Jefferson’s home). I loved touring all of those places. I highly recommend visiting Virginia. It is a beautiful state full of amazing historical landmarks. And, Virginia is for Lovers–so there’s that too.

On May 29th, 2010, Everyday Mama said:

Oh, I LOVE field trips! These days it’s Children’s Museums, Zoos, etc. But personally, I love field trips to farms and pumpkin patches. It brings me back to a simple kind of life…you know way back when. It’s peaceful and you get such a joy picking just the right pumpkin to carve and showcase on your front porch.

On May 29th, 2010, Kizz said:

When I was in Junior High or High School we went on a repeat trip to the North Shore Music Theater in MA. That year the performance was Midsummer Night’s Dream and in it the 2 pairs of lovers lay down in the right configuration, they fell asleep and then they did this kind of…dance in their sleep where they rolled around and wound up in the wrong pairs before they woke up. It was beautiful and I loved it and I wanted to do things like that.

In my first year of college I went to see a performance by my favorite teacher’s dance company. There was a whole huge dance sequence where the characters went to bed then danced but…like…on the floor! It was like the Midsummer I’d seen so long ago. When I eagerly told my teacher about what I’d seen years before she told me she’d been the one to choreograph that Midsummer. Suddenly it was clear that I belonged right where I was, doing exactly what I was doing.

On May 29th, 2010, Kristen M. said:

Each year, the 6th – 8th graders at my small school took a special all-day (“epic”) field trip. I lived in the East coast at that time so our day trip destinations were Baltimore, Washington DC, and New York. We boarded a chartered bus from our school parking lot in the wee hours of the morning, arrived and toured at our destination, and returned to the school parking lot late at night. Two things that I remember being a big deal were 1), the buses (they had bathrooms AND we got to watch a movie) and 2) we always stopped at a mom-and-pop all-you-can-eat Smörgåsbord restaurant on the way home. Traditions are funny like that. Anyway, I never realized how much those trips impacted me until I took my kids to Washington D.C. last year and it was as if I were back in middle school retracing my steps. Funny thing was, I don’t think the items in the gift shops have changed. My kids got astronaut ice cream at the Air & Space Museum, just like I did back in the day. I loved passing the memories on to my children. Perhaps someday they will bring their own kids.

On May 31st, 2010, Overflowing Brain (Katie) said:

When I was in middle school I went on a field trip to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. It’s a Holocaust museum and when you walk in you get a card of a child that was actually brought to the concentration camps. You follow them through and at the end you find out what happened to your child.

It was eye opening and enlightening and scary. And I think it fostered a new sense of compassion in all of us- seeing what happened to children, and helping us realize how blessed we were to live in a country where we were free to practice whatever religion we wanted.

On May 31st, 2010, Thordora said:

Didn’t do many field trips. But where I grew up had a fort and a museum and all sorts of history. My mother created loyalist costumes for everyone who paticipated in th reenactments each year.

2 layers of heavy cotton for 2 weeks every July. Ugh.

But the great thing was learning to appreciate my life- things like medicine or clean water or electricity. The renactors didn’t skimp-at least not when I could see. And it’s always made me grateful.

On May 31st, 2010, tiffany said:

I was in the sixth grade when we took a field trip to the Ruben H Fleet science center. When we unloaded our lunches were apparently left on a bench. We had a great time exploring the center and worked up quite an appetite. When our teacher went to get our food, it was gone. We assumed a homeless person took it. Being young and selfish we griped and complained the whole ride home. Even though we were brats our teacher bought us pizza. That was my most memorable field trip. When I look back on it now, I’m thankful that someone who needed the food more got it.

On May 31st, 2010, Ali @PickleSugarPlum said:

Coming from B.F.E., we didn’t do a lot of field trips…the two that I remember are:

1) a trip to the principal’s farm to see his geese at the pond. ONLY exciting point…when the geese started attacking the kids, and we all RAN to our safety in the school bus. Short field trip.

My eye-opener, so to speak…

2) a trip to the Dolly Madison Bakery in Emporia, KS. I’d never seen so many sweet things in my life! The eye-opening part?, you ask…hearing that some of the trucks drove all the way to CALIFORNIA to deliver the goods! Back then, California seemed like a dream…a place only TV stars could live, and a place others only witnessed via the big screen.

It seemed like a dream then, and now, I guess you could say I’m living that dream. I live in CA, and I can’t imagine life anywhere else!

On May 31st, 2010, Lily said:

My most memorable field trip has been going with my now 7 yr old, it was her kindergarden field trip to the San Diego zoo, I was also able to take my 2 yr old along. Seeing the san Diego Zoo through the eyes of a 5 and 2 yr old for the first time was just so amazing!!!
It seemed that before that, everytime I had gone to the Zoo it was forgettable until that day. the kids got to feed some animals, go to the nursery, and going on the narrated bus tours ;)

On June 1st, 2010, S L said:

The first field trip I remember going on was to a learning center of some sort where we got to see different pieces of history and partook in various activities related to them. One of them was to take a large jigsaw puzzle piece of a dinosaur and put it in its proper place. These were big pieces so there weren’t that many, and when I was done with mine I wanted to place another one… but every kid only got to do one.

Just one piece each?!

That was tough for me since I grew up getting to do pretty much anything I wanted, but here we were with 30 kids and 30 pieces. Once you picked one up off the floor and put it in the puzzle, that was it. Done. Now just sit and watch everyone else.

The consequences of a shared world, realized. It was disappointing but a good lesson in life about shared limited resources and fair distribution for all.

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