Westview School Playground Tapes 1974

By | September 6, 2023

When you remember grade school kids in the 1970s enjoying recess on the playground, you think of swinging, climbing the monkey bars, jumping rope, or maybe playing a game of jacks. That’s what normal kids did. I wasn’t one of them. Instead, I brought a tape recorder to school and spent my recess periods conducting “interviews.” I use the term quite loosely, as you will hear.

Amazingly enough, these tapes have survived for nearly 50 years and are now being digitized for your listening enjoyment right here on DrewDurigan.com! Because I was just 10 years old, I didn’t have a huge budget for recording equipment. My arsenal consisted of a Panasonic Take ‘N Tape recorder and Certron C-60 cassettes. These were the cheap “bag cassettes” that you could get at Target and Holiday Village for 99 cents per 3 pack. As you might expect, the audio quality is less than optimum. I’ve cleaned it up quite a bit via the miracle of digital remastering and enhancement, so it’s not too bad. Considering the age of these cheap tapes, it’s actually a miracle they still play at all!

WARNING: These recordings are NOT poltically-correct! In those days, elementary school playgrounds were basically a free-for-all. Complete chaos ensued. There is no foul language, but there are instances of boys teasing girls, boys talking about bras and girdles, guys “slugging” each other, and girls kicking boys. In other words, kids being kids. This is how it was to be a 5th grader in 1974.

Wednesday, September 4, 1974 takes us back to the second day of school at Westview Elementary in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Why not the first day of school? Because my tape recorder was in for repair and the doofuses at the shop didn’t have it completed on time. In order of appearance, you’ll hear Drew Durigan, Billy Ehrich, Delite Sellon, Brian Baldwin, Darryl Hankins, Leigh Mohart, Ken Nordvik, Yvette Christopherson, Mrs. Luella Newstrom’s whistle, Mrs. Ruth Keely’s whistle, fire drill siren, Susan Erickson, Mr. Tom Crosgrove (principal) and the school bus driver.

“Interview the Playground Aide” Nine days later, I got bored with “interviewing” other kids. So, I decided to try my luck with the playground aides. These were the poor ladies who tried in vain to maintain some semblance of order and sanity during recess. As you can hear, they were less than thrilled with my early efforts to become a professional broadcaster. The first voice is that of Mrs. Karon Rutgerson, the second belongs to Mrs. Charlene Ekegren. If you only have time to listen to one of these audio exhibits, THIS is the one to hear!

Thursday, September 5, 1974 Lots of corny kid jokes and songs. I sing to Lorraine Allen: “I went to the park one day, Lorraine’s fanny was in my way!” Mrs. Keely teaches us about intersections and unions. As we’re waiting for the bus to show up, Mr. Jim Hipple makes a cameo appearance to warn us of what will happen to those who choose to goof around at the bus stop!

Friday, September 6, 1974 We make a pathetic attempt to sing Ray Stevens’ “The Streak.” Mrs. Keely reads a story to us after recess (I loved that!) While Kathy Burt explains the school bus rules, Susan Erickson demands I “get that tape recorder off right now!”

Monday, September 9, 1974 was an “Indoor Day.” That meant no playground, due to bad weather. Instead, we stayed inside and tore up the classroom until Mrs. Keely returned from lunch to restore law and order! This short clip also features my buddy Dan Piper on the bus, telling his famous “Sy, si, sore” joke.

Thursday, September 12, 1974 Opening with Brian Baldwin singing our theme song, we “progress” to teasing poor Janet Olson and Kolleen Quilici. This was risky business since both were strong girls who had no problems defending themselves. Kolleen in particular had a great right hook. I found this out the hard way. “If you don’t get out of here right now, I’ll smack ya!” An informative interview with Yvette Christopherson regarding punching boys in the nose. Then, a stray kitten appears on the playground. Of course, he gets interviewed!

Friday, September 13, 1974 Janet finally decides she’s had enough of my teasing and responds appropriately. Brian: “Kickey, isn’t she?” Drew: “OUCH!!!” Brian: “Pushy, too!” Stacey Stanley entertains us with her trumpet. Years later, Stacey moved to California and recorded an album entitled “To Be Known.” Here’s proof that ‘I knew her when!’ We try to pester Kathy Ferguson and Patti Claude, but they were too smart to respond. Mrs. Keely informs Diane Laiza that if she keeps goofing off, “you don’t get permission to stay in.” Friday the 13th wraps up with complete chaos on the school bus!

Monday, September 16, 1974 Today’s short segment picks up where Friday’s left off. “Interview the Playground Aide”, Parts 10-14. Mrs. Ekegren has a cold and doesn’t feel like talking today. Mrs. Rutgerson says “Well, if you’re going to interview me, you have to ask me some questions first.” “Okay, how long is your nose?” “Three and a half feet!”

Tuesday, September 17, 1974 There’s a lot to unpack in this episode. Today’s teasing targets are girls who have recently gotten their ears pierced. Darryl Hankins initiates his younger brother Darren into our posse. “Interview the Playground Aide”, Part 16 is one of the classics. Me: “Here we come. Oh, ho, what’s in store for the playground aide today?” She: “Not you, I hope!” I ask Yvette “How do you like my button?” The button in question was made by my friend Wayne Wagner with a Badge-A-Minit machine. It says “Pierced Ears Bring Tears!” Yvette is not impressed. “You have your opinion and I have mine. Now get outta here!” Mrs. Ekegren tries to turn the tables by interviewing me.

Friday, September 20, 1974 Yvette’s little sister Carlee Christopherson stops by to gleefully inform me that the Vikings beat the Packers. Sure, Carlee. Rub it in! Mrs. Rutgerson lays down the law and informs me she will grant no further “interviews” unless I have questions to ask. Which leads to “When did you start being a playground aide?” “Um, December of 1862.” “You look that old, too!” “You’re not getting better, you’re getting older!” Delite Sellon expresses her current feelings regarding Sandy Torvik. In just 2 short weeks, I have trained Mrs. Keely? She now asks “Ready?” before blowing her whistle, signaling the end of recess period.

Monday, September 21, 1974 In the final segment, we lie in wait for our favorite playground aide to make an appearance for Part 60! To close this project, the entire gang sings a rousing revised rendition of “Camptown Races” that we called “Piercer Go Away!” We have to hurry because the cassette is about to run out of tape. Made it, just barely. The End. We hope you have enjoyed the show!

If you grew up in the Reflection Road/Rimrock Drive/Holyoke Lane area, you might remember hearing these tapes or reasonable facsimiles on your radio. I built my first AM transmitter that year and immediately began using it to broadcast to my neighbors. Each day, I would bring my Take ‘N Tape to school to record the events of the day. When I arrived home that afternoon, I would sign on my “undocumented” radio station and narrate the proceedings to anyone in the immediate area who happened to be tuned in to AM 1200. Mischievous? Yes. Annoying? Definitely! But as with my CB radio addiction which began a couple years later, it kept me out of serious trouble that many kids get into at this age.

If you appreciate these tapes, or if you think they’re the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard, please let me know in the “comments” section below. Thanks for listening and remember: “The BEST View is WEST View!”

4 thoughts on “Westview School Playground Tapes 1974

  1. Lorraine (Allen) Lewis

    Oh wow, this is hilarious! I was in your grade there and then moved to Northern Virginia in 1975. All of those names bring back memories as well as a previous post of yours with the 4th grade class picture. I came upon your posts when I Googled “Thomas Cosgrove”, the principal, remembering his cleft chin. 😉

    1. Drew Post author

      LORRAINE! Your timing is fantastic. I just finished this page 2 days ago. The best part is, you were in my class and I SING about you! Listen to the 9/5/1974 segment, starting at about 1:09. So glad you found this. Maybe you won’t be after you hear me singing 🙂

  2. Sully

    I’m still trying to figure out how to listen to the recording. I remember Mrs. Charlene Ekegren, such a sweet, kind, and funny lady. She took a vacation to Hawaii and brought back a baby food jar of sand for me. Shows you how unpopular I was as a kid. I spent a lot of time hanging out with her. I felt so weird, when in high school, I was hanging out with Mike Ekegren and realized she was his mom. Mike was also a very nice guy. I got my first kiss from Shelly Stevens on the playground. I’m sure she wouldn’t be happy that I’m posting that info. It’s ok, I think she had been drinking and didn’t know what she was doing.

    1. Drew Post author

      Jim Sullivan, you were right there with us! Just click on the blue date links and it should take you to a player page. From there, the audio clip should start automatically. If not, click the > arrow.

      Mrs. Ekegren was great. She never got angry or yelled at me, even though I most certainly deserved it! Mike was in our grade. His brother Paul was a year behind us. I always thought it was funny that Mike had pure blond hair and Paul had very dark hair.

      Shelly Stevens was one of the first girls that I actually liked. In first grade, I told everyone that she was my girlfriend!


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