No Recess Please

Medium:

Steel, sand, marble, brick, fiber

Dimensions:

12’ x 6’ x 8’

A child’s swing hangs empty and lifeless from steel I-beams that support a small scale reproduction of a fiberboard sided local library of decades old design. The small library’s vertical and horizontal I-beam support is purposefully erected and deliberately fashioned in the shape of a “hangman’s gallows” and this structure is solidly mounted in the cold earth under the child’s swing with a rugged base of stone, brick and marble moorings.

The child’s play-swing was once the joy of a school playground that was full of promising and laughing children until one fateful day, the swing would stop forever. For it was on that tragic day that one very bright young girl of barely 8 years, awkwardly fell to the ground. Her would-be celebration of another glorious school lunch recess, crashed abruptly to a brutal end. So vivid was the image of the adults and children alike as they encircled the motionless young girl that lay before them. Every one of them stood by in shock as their sense of helplessness sank deeper into their thoughts with every second that passed. The quick arrival of the flashing local ambulance and the on-boarding of this broken little girl seemed like it was an eternity. Then sadly, it was only three days later that the final page of this horrific story was first revealed to the family of the little girl and then to her teachers and schoolmates. The beautiful and promising child passed away during her third night at the hospital.

Some children would vow in the years that followed that there should be no more perilous lunch recess. The joy that the school playground knew for many years would never fully return. For some, those loud recess bells at lunch time would forever evoke the painful memory of that dreadful, tragic day.

Several years after the young girl’s grievous death, families and friends from the local elementary school district planned and organized the construction of a community library which was named after the little girl. But for some, the new children’s library could never replace the lovely, delightful little girl or even begin to lessen their grieving her loss. Perhaps a few would even blame that new library for its books and study halls and the excitement and exuberance that they created in children’s anticipation of the raucous ringing of those recess bells.

It was many years later that the old hospital where the sweet youngster had passed away, was finally torn down and some of that old hospital’s steel I-beams were recovered by those who remembered the little girl. Two of those beams were then used in the design and construction of the much more personalized and realistic reminder of the vivid events of the day of the angelic girl’s fateful demise and her family’s life-long loss. And as such, this memorial piece is aptly named “No Recess Please”.