Each year, a fireman would come to school to teach us about fire safety and prevention. Usually there would be an assembly in the gym/multi-purpose room for all the students to learn how to prevent common fires, and what to do if there is a fire.
When we went back to our classrooms, we were given booklets with lessons about fire safety, and some pictures of firetrucks to color.
We went to Art class, and began to work on our Fire Prevention Posters. Usually, the easiest and most popular topic was, “Don’t Smoke in Bed.” I guess this happened quite frequently back-in-the-day. And I don’t think very many people had smoke detectors in their house, either. (Nowadays, I set my smoke detector off just about every time I use the oven…my dog is not happy!)
I also made a poster warning, “Don’t Smoke in Bed.” We worked on them for several days, and the following Friday they were to be handed in, and entered into a contest. First, second and third prizes for the best poster were to be given out. A daughter of one of the school teachers always won first prize. My father was convinced it was not that her poster was better, but that she “knew” the right people.
So this year, my father decided *I* was going to win. We went to the store and bought large paper, the same size as the ones we used in Art class. He decided my poster would be “Don’t put too many plugs in one electrical outlet.” [Back then, many houses were built with only one or two outlets in each room. When electricity was new, it was only used for lights. No one could imagine all the gadgets we would have, and many times adapters which allowed more extension cords and plugs would be used to run the refrigerator, washing machine, lights, and iron all at the same time. Often, this would spark a fire.]
I admit that although it was my father’s idea, I did the artwork myself. I was careful and used rulers to ensure straight lines for the slogan. I drew a picture of the outlet and the plugs going into it myself. Then I colored the poster.
Since my bus was the first one to school, I was able to slip in before anyone was in the classroom (even Mrs. Whitlock) and take out my old poster and put in the new one.
Sure enough, two weeks later, I received the prize for First Place in the Fire Prevention Poster contest.
It always feels good to win.