Crossing guards whistle-in another school year

August 30, 1994|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

When Patricia Anderson hears Christine Fisher blowing a whistle outside her house in the morning, she knows what it means.

"Another year's starting," said Mrs. Anderson, who lives at the intersection of Marlboro and Baylor roads in Glen Burnie, where Mrs. Fisher, 67, is the crossing guard.

Mrs. Fisher, has been helping children cross the street for 31 years, all but one of them at Glen Burnie Park Elementary School. She is second in seniority among the county's crossing guards. She started in 1962.

"I've got kids who've had kids up here," she said.

Karen Pippin, 31, is one of them. Yesterday, she walked her children, Adam and Elizabeth, to school.

"She's fun to play with," Adam, 10, said of Mrs. Fisher. Adam is in fifth grade this year. "We always take our books and say, 'Here, you can have them' and she gives them back to us."

Another Glen Burnie resident, Mollie Scott, said Mrs. Fisher looks out for her grandson, Buddy Young, and other kids.

"She gives lunch money to them if they don't have it. She makes sure they get home if their parents aren't there to pick them up," Ms. Scott said.

Mrs. Fisher begins her day at 7:30 a.m., neatly clad in white gloves, a navy and white cap, fitted navy pants, shiny black patent leather shoes, and an ironed white blouse.

And, of course, there's her black whistle.

"I've almost swallowed this whistle many a time," she said. "Some of those cars will not stop."

A long tweet means stop. Two short tweets mean go, and it's all done while she waves her hands and points at the cars.

Many children and parents wave or blow their horns to say hello.

A couple of miles away, Marlene Keyser, the county's longest working crossing guard, gets the same treatment from children and parents at North Glen Elementary School. Mrs. Keyser has been safely crossing children for 33 years.

'It's a long time isn't it?'" said Mrs. Keyser, 60, adding that she keeps the job because she enjoys watching the children.

She's seen a lot in her years as a guard, and saved a child's life once.

"One woman, I was just blowing my whistle at her and she just wouldn't stop," she said of the incident in 1968.

Mrs. Keyser said she pulled a third-grade boy out of the way of the sports car that skidded more than 100 feet before stopping.

Both she and the boy bruised their knees.

Mrs. Keyser later learned that the woman worked for the Motor Vehicle Administration.

"She taught the safe driving course," she said.

While finishing up her afternoon shift yesterday, Linda Burket, who has been a crossing guard for 6 1/2 years, illustrated one of the back-to-school duties as she walked a lost child back to North Glen.

The boy had left with the students who walk home and didn't know his parents were waiting to pick him up. He crossed the street about a mile away from the school, where Ms. Burket is stationed, looked around, pointed back toward the school and declared, "I got to go that way," Ms. Burket said.

"I asked him how far," Ms. Burket said. "He said, 'To Grandma's house.' "

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