The Elastic Band Kids
By Kalen Marquis
Dedicated with love, respect
and compassion to
“Elastic Band Kids”
and “Old Elastics”
There once were some kids
Called the Elastic Band Kids
They were stretched like elastic
Except when they hid.
From what did they hide?
Or rather from whom?
From teachers and parents—
Old Elastic me and Old Elastic you!
Those kids were pretty stretchy
It was their way to survive.
They moved to Old Elastic music,
Whether rock, blues or jive!
Those Elastic Band Kids were everywhere,
Wherever we asked them to be.
They learned the Old Elastic dances
With a “cha-cha-cha” . . .
and a “one-two-three’!
Those Kids were long and stretchy
They could be tied in a knot.
But they were also short and snappy.
They could change on the spot!
Some Kids were very soft and pliant.
How they’d twist and they’d bend,
But they never knew themselves—
Their very best friend!
Those Kids couldn’t trust
And they sure couldn’t feel.
They needed to be themselves.
They needed to be real.
They needed to cry when they cried
And laughed when they laughed.
They needed to know it was okay
Even when they gaffed.
It was the Old Elastics’ job to teach
To help them experience it all.
It was their duty to prepare them,
To help them weather it all.
But who forecasts the weather?
That’s what all Kids want to know.
Should they be dressing for sunshine
Or wind, hail, sleet, or snow?
It was an Old Elastic Custom
An Old Elastic Truth,
Elastic Band Kids must be shaped
Until that first wisdom tooth.
Those Kids were not brittle.
They were as rubbery as can be.
They were made for that tugging
It was so easy to see!
For that is the beauty
Of young Elastic Bands.
They were ‘meant’ to be molded
By Old Elastic hands.
But Old Elastics gradually weaken
They become brittle and worn.
They had been twisting, tugging, pulling. . .
Since those Kids had been born.
All that tugging made them tired,
As bushed as can be,
But it made Elastic Band Kids taut
And that would set them free!
So, when it finally happened,
That the Old Elastics grew weak,
Those Elastic Band Kids went sailing
Over the highest mountain peak!
It was really quite a sight
When the Old Elastics lost their grip.
Their Kids had been launched
And they took quite a trip!
That was it! They were gone!
They were out of that place!
They had catapulted themselves
Into deep outer space!
They hadn’t fully realized it
But the tension had set them free!
The tugging and tugging had stopped
And they were smiling with glee!
The Old Elastics moaned and groaned.
Oh, how they spluttered and cried!
“How could you leave us?” they wailed.
“We. . . love. . . you,” they sighed.
The Old Elastics were sad.
They had done what they could.
They had done like their parents,
As Old Elastics ‘should.’
If they could just get them back,
They would try once again.
If they would just come back
They’d appreciate them then.
They wouldn’t tug quite so hard
Or push, pull or bend.
“We love you as you are,”
Is the message they’d send.
The Old Elastics were very lonely.
They’d lost the great race.
So, they mailed off a letter. . .
Into deep outer space.
They awaited a reply,
But they heard little news.
They would wait and wait.
They had nothing left to lose.
But meanwhile those Kids
They were traveling in space.
They had visited many planets
But hadn’t found their place.
Pluto was too cold
And Mercury was too hot.
Jupiter looked kind of bruised
With its giant red spot.
They had traveled many orbits
Hopped on many a track
But each one they traveled
Kept looping on back.
They had looped many orbits
They had gone round and round.
But there was no place to settle
They were even homesick they found.
So, they re-read that faded letter
Filled with Old Elastic love,
And they sent their reply
By interplanetary dove!
It had taken them some time.
They were tired and sore.
But was it really their heart
Or their pride that hurt more?
They had given it some thought
And most of them agreed,
It was by returning back home
That they might finally be freed.
So, the Elastic Band Kids came back.
They shuttled in from space.
They forgave the Old Elastics
Though they hadn’t liked their ways.
The cheers went up!
Oh, they made quite a sound!
The Elastic Band Kids were back!
There were tears all around!
The Kids were all grown up.
They were Old Elastics now.
They were parents and teachers
And their turn to show how.
It was their turn up at bat
To do the best that they could.
They might make mistakes,
They were sure that they would.
They would do the Old Elastics’ job
They’d twist and tug here and there,
But never too often . . .
And always with care.
For they knew well the fear
Of pulling too tight,
And the desperate desire
To hurtle into the night!
They vowed to remember,
All their travels in space,
And to trust their Elastic Band Kids
To find their own unique place.
They would love them and listen
And stretch them for fun.
They would help them find their orbit,
Their own place in the sun.
They would often take the lead,
For that’s the Old Elastic role,
But they’d bend and stretch gently.
That would be their goal.
They would lead by example,
Not just preach, teach and test.
They would try to catch those Kids
At their personal best!
Yes, that would be the trick!
Though not so easily done.
But for every Old Elastic
It is job number one!
And that is the Elastic Band Kids’ story,
How they had soared into space.
But now they’re all busy . . .
Carrying on that Old Elastic race!
© 1991 Kalen Marquis