The lure of the Old West, in the persons of the Cisco Kid and two cowgirls, was stronger than the threat of possible school disciplinary action for hundreds of Norwood Junior High School students today.
Duncan Renaldo, who plays the Cisco Kid in the rodeo at the Boston Garden, and the girls paid a visit to Florentine Fleming, 10, who lost her leg in an accident last week.
When word of their noontime visit to Norwood Hospital got around, the students, at lunchtime recess, rushed from the school. 100 yards away, and stormed around the hospital hoping to catch a glimpse of the Western star.
As a result, they were 20 minutes late for afternoon classes. Despite urging by teachers, the youngsters waited at the hospital until Renaldo came out.
Later, he said, had no idea his visit would disrupt a school session.
Rewarded With Smile, Wave
When nurses told the crowd of pupils milling about the front of the hospital that the Cisco Kid was having lunch, there was a mad rush to the rear of the hospital where dozens of young faces peered through the cafeteria windows.
They were rewarded with a smile and a wave from the TV favorite.
Renaldo and cowgirls Jo Ann Coyle of Oklahoma, and Doneva Shepard of Oregon, signed some autographs and then drove off while the youngsters cheered.
Then everyone returned to class – the last was in by 1:20 — and school officials smiled and shrugged it off.
The Fleming girl, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Fleming of Dale St., Dedham, was thrilled by the visit of the Kid. It was her first day up in a wheelchair since the accident last week.
Her leg was torn off when a metal cap blew off a section of a natural gas pipeline in Dedham.
Her one big hope now. nurses, said, is to get home in time for Halloween. The nurses are amazed at the courage of the girl, who wants to continue her dancing lessons when she gets an artificial leg.
(Originally published in the Norwood Messenger, October 24, 1952)