Wilbur Winand


Wilbur Winand (pre Toys R US times) was the giraffe mascot for our elementary school. I always wondered why it was a giraffe.

Hey Risa, is it still Wilbur? Risa went to school with me back in the day and now she teaches at that very same school. Isn’t that neato?

But I digress.

We were talking earlier about walking to school. My guys take the bus. But I was a walker as a kid.

On the way to school, one in every 10-20 houses had a giraffe sign in the window. That meant that the mom was home and you could go there in an emergency. It was a great idea, I think. Of course, back then, we all knew everyone in every house.

But still.

My mom reminded me that I stopped at one of the giraffe sign houses to go to the bathroom one day. I was probably 6 or 7 years old.

Hey, it was an emergency! And wasn’t that the point of those signs? A place to go in an emergency!?

After that ‘incident’ which lately I’ve been told was way more talked about that I’d thought at the time, I asked what kind of emergency were they expecting anyway? And that’s when it all came together. Those were safe houses if someone was bothering us or a stranger tried to get us in the car. Not just a place to pee or throw up. (I did have a friend who threw up at one once.)

And while I know this is a rambling post, I think it’s pretty nice that the community could come together with a plan to make the parents (and kids) feel safe. But I still think they shouldn’t make fun of the girl who had to pee.

It WAS an emergency, after all.

And speaking of walking to elementary school…..

In first grade, I walked with a boy from the big scary house across the street. Every. Day.

One day, on the way home, he asked to see my underwear. I never really wondered why. (I guess that’s because I knew that I had really pretty underwear.)

At any rate, I actually still remember pulling up my skirt really high to show him. Then I put it down and we kept walking home.

Little did I know that my mom was watching out the kitchen window and saw the whole thing. And little did I know that she had her friend on the phone, too.

Needless to say, I’ve heard about this incident often over the past 40 years.

Oh, and one more thing.

That same boy? He came to get me to walk to school on Yom Kippur. My mom answered the door and told him I wasn’t going to school. It was a Jewish holiday.

He never came back.

I never understood.

Especially after I showed him my underwear and everything.


5 thoughts on “Wilbur Winand

  1. The moms in our neighborhood at blue stars in their windows. The only time I ever considered making a break for one was with the neighborhood bully, Ricky Duncan, dragged me down the street by my ear. I guess he got bored with it and let me go, though. Finally, I outed him, on your blog. Now I have closure.

  2. Wilbur Winand was still the mascot when I was there (2000-2002). There is a little giraffe wearing a backpack, I think, on the top of each page of the Winand website today. I have no idea why they chose a giraffe. I also remember stopping at the safe houses with the picture in the window. I think we had one, too, but we were a mile from the school. We were the end of the line.

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