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“Wagons Are For Babies Anyway”

wagon full of books

Timmy the turtle knew the big day was coming. His first day of school was only a month away and he was very excited. His brothers and sisters had always loved school and he just knew that he would too. They would come home each day and tell him of the grand adventures that they had had in class. Tales of projects and exploration were always his favorites.

He already knew what his first project would be. Timmy was going to share with his class all of his favorite books that his parents had read to him over the years. Each day he would dress up as the main character and act out his favorite scenes. He was certain that there would be time for this. He also realized that some of his friends may not have had many stories read to them when they were little or they may not have had many books in their home.

He had planned for this. He was going to bring his favorite books to bring to school each day to share with the kids at recess. There would be plenty of time at recess to share since he was only 5 years old. The tough part would be getting the books to school each day, but he had a red wagon that he knew would work just fine. It didn’t move fast, but he could always depend on it and it could fit everything that he needed to carry.

It was a week before school started and Timmy was ready. His outfits were all picked out and he had the coolest lunchbox. He was so excited he could barely sleep. Each night as he fell asleep he could hear his parents excitedly talking about how their kids loved school. But the night before his first day he sensed a different tone and became aware of a different topic.

They were talking about the new road that had been built and how it was going to effect their trip to and from school. Timmy wasn’t sure, but he thought it was called Common Core Highway. It sounded like a strange name to him, but what did he know? He was only 5.

Well the morning came for Timmy’s first day of school was today. His brothers and sisters did not have to go to school today. The schools made it a special day so that the 5 year olds could feel more comfortable.

Timmy and his parents laughed and giggled and held claws all along the way. Of course Timmy was pulling his little red wagon full of books that he just couldn’t wait to share with all of the other boys and girls. And then in the distance he saw it.

Common Core Highway.

It was huge!

It was fast!

It was scary!

And all of the kids in town had to cross it no matter what school they attended.

Timmy’s smile started to fade.

How was he going to get across the highway? Was someone from his school going to be there to guide him along the way?

Timmy looked to his left and he looked to his right. He couldn’t help but notice that crossing Common Core Highway was different depending on what school you attended.

Some schools had decided to build an intersection with four-way stop signs. This meant that everything  stopped for Common Core Highway. Traffic coming east. Traffic coming west. Traffic coming north and traffic coming south. Whatever happened to be heading down the highway had to stop at Common Core Highway. No matter what!

Other schools decided to have a crossing guard available to help children cross safely. This didn’t seem so bad to Timmy. If he was going to have to cross Common Core Highway at least it was going to be safer. He was starting to worry about his wagon full of books though. Would he be able to pull it fast enough? The crossing guard could only hold traffic for so long and Timmy’s wagon could only go but so fast.

Then Timmy saw it. Off in the distance. He couldn’t believe his eyes. One school had decided to build an overpass so that their students could walk right over Common Core Highway. What? Is that even allowed Timmy thought? Nevertheless they were doing it. Their students still got to school, but they never had to worry about Common Core Highway. Oh, they knew it was there, and they still had to cross it. It just wasn’t something that was going to cause them to have to slow down or hurry.

Well, it was time for Timmy to cross Common Core Highway in order for him to get to school.


Something must be wrong.

There was nothing to help Timmy get across!

No stop signs.

No crossing guard.

No overpass.

Timmy and his parents took a deep breath. This was as far as they could go with him. They realized that he would have to wait for a gap in the traffic and then move as fast as he could. They knew he could do it, but they also knew that it wouldn’t be easy. They also hated the fact that this was something that would occupy Timmy’s thoughts day and night.

And what about Timmy’s wagon? There was no way that Timmy and his wagon could safely cross Common Core Highway. Timmy couldn’t imagine the thought of leaving his wagon behind. There were too many memories in there. Too much joy. Goodnight Moon, Love You Forever, Guess How Much I Love You. Just to name a few.

Timmy was going to try. He just had to. So Timmy waited

and he waited

and he waited

and then he saw an opening.

He took off as fast he could,

and he was going to make it

he really was going to make it!

But at the last second

a tractor-trailer came out of nowhere

right at Timmy.

Timmy made it. But his wagon did not!

What was left of his wagon and the books it was carrying were strewn all over the highway.

Timmy had no time to slow down. He had not time to look back.

The bell was getting ready to ring and he had to take a pretest. He had heard that if you were late you have to make up your work at recess.

Timmy went as fast he could the whole while crying to himself, “wagons are for babies anyway, wagons are for babies anyway…”

He wiped his tears on his new shirt and hoped that tomorrow would be a better day.

One comment on ““Wagons Are For Babies Anyway”

  1. dfgately says:

    Great piece John. Those are three of our favorite children’s books too! Somebody should make a cartoon out of this. I’d like Daniel Radcliffe to do the voice of Timmy…

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