This week’s topic deals with our memories of end of summer or back to school.
I always loved school, so even though I enjoyed summer and not having to wear extra layers of clothing, I always looked forward to the day after Labor Day, which is the traditional opening day of school in Michigan. There are several reasons why this was one of my favorite times of the year. I suppose I could say that I was excited about learning new things. I’ve always been curious. But I imagine my young self had less academic reasons for looking forward to going back to school.
First of all, I looked forward to the social aspect. We weren’t encouraged to go more than a block or two away from home by ourselves, so that severely limited our circle of playmates during summer vacation. Yes, I liked our neighbors, but they weren’t always home when we were home. And there was only so much trouble I could get into with the two other girls who lived within my allowed travel circle. So going back to school meant I could socialize with kids who lived more than a half mile away. Once I got to junior high and high school, the social part of school included evening activities such as sporting events and music performances.
Second, going back to school always meant new clothes. Since I was the only girl in the family, I didn’t have to wear hand-me-downs. As long as I kept growing, I got new clothes. My mom sewed most of my dresses (this is back before girls were allowed to wear pants to school), but she always let me pick the fabric. And since my feet grew, I always got new shoes, except that my flat feet meant I had to wear heavy shoes with good arch support. I remember the first time my parents finally let me wear “regular” shoes like the other girls. My feet hurt because the support wasn’t there, but I was happy!
I’ve always been drawn to fall colors. The changing leaves are what represent the season to me, and gold, burgundy, and brown, and dark green are my favorite colors. They seem to energize me. So even though the thermometer says we should wear shorts and t-shirts, the stores are full of warm-weather clothes, many in the shades of autumn. These days, I wear clothes I purchased myself, and I look forward to school not to interact with friends, but to connect with students. Instead of hot chocolate, I’m more likely to warm up with a cup of coffee. But the excitement and energy are still there. Both of the community orchestras that I belong to will begin rehearsals next week, and I’ll start teaching tomorrow. I’ll start my Christmas gift list soon, and life will speed up.
Now, please excuse me while I lie down for a short nap.