When I was a kid, we had long summer vacations from school. We were usually out by the first week of June, and went back the first weekday after Labor Day, (which was not yet a Monday Holiday and always fell on September third).
Sometimes, if we had a great deal of snow (and therefore, ‘snow days’ to make up), the school year lasted a little longer, but we never went back any sooner.
Our schools were very strict, but we learned well. Going to school in obligatory dresses was easy at the beginning of the year, but much colder and harder in the winter. We’d go clothes shopping in late August. I’d start the year with three new dresses, a new slip and a new pair of shoes and new socks. My brother got new shoes, sneakers, socks, two good pairs of pants, a pair of jeans and three new shirts. My sister got the three dresses and more clothes,(dresses or skirts and blouses), being older.
More clothes would be added later for all of us as they were needed, or when my mother found something nice at a good price. The ritual-shopping usually took place at Robert Hall’s (remember that one?). Later clothes were often found at Lerner’s or someplace snazzy that had a good clearance.
I had to wait until the first day of school to get a list of supplies the teachers expected us to have.; we had to copy them by hand. Some of it could be bought at the school store.
I still remember how it felt to walk the mile or so to my elementary school. When we visited my old neighborhood a couple of summers ago, I walked the path from the school and across the wooden footbridge which ran next to a wooded area and ended between houses. There was another long stretch of sidewalk through the housing development down to my house, but I skipped going that far.
When I went back the next year, I took my grandson and had him walk the path and bridge.
(When I was alone on the bridge, I heard voices. I leaned over and I spoke to the teens who were hanging out there. I felt ancient when they were awed that I was walking the bridge after fifty years!)
Now that I am back in the eastern part of the country, every once in a while with the heat and humidity, I the smell of the Honeysuckle, Maple trees and other regional flora, and it brings back the memories of either the first days or the last days school.
They are good feelings.
My favorite beginnings of school had been with my grandkids. Here the supply lists for classes are available before term starts and I truly enjoyed buying their school supplies. I always said that if I won a lottery, I was to be kept away without from several places, and the first on the list would be stationery stores, (and bookstores, of course!)
Now that my grandson has only been in town for the Summers visiting me and to his mother’s house. I grab him at one point and load him up with school supplies to take back to his dad’s with him. He’s starting his sophomore year, and I still insisted on taking him out to buy whatever we could think of that he might need. (We did a really good job; it set me back nearly $100.00.)
I also still take advantage of the big sales at the start of the year and when any of the kids show up in the middle of the year and need spiral notebooks, folders, report covers, theme books, etc., they know that I have them on hand.
The cookie jar isn’t the only thing that’s full at Grandma’s house!