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First Day of School One of Excitement
Wow. Here we are at the beginning of August and kids are already steeling themselves for the return to school.
This is one of the times I really enjoy being a person of Baby Boomer™ vintage. It’s fun to see the looks on the faces of the little ones as I regale them with stories of going back to school AFTER Labor Day, and getting out BEFORE Memorial Day. Of course, I don’t throw in the part about how long summer breaks meant we forgot pretty much everything we had supposedly learned in the first semester of the preceding school year, but that’s beside the point. I’m going for envy here.
That said, I have to admit that I always enjoyed the first day of a new school year. In fact, after about 10th grade or so, it was usually the only day of the school year that I DID enjoy.
I loved new school clothes. There was something so hopeful about shoes with unscuffed toes, pants with creases where you actually wanted them, shirts that had yet to experience ginormous ink stains under the breast pocket.
I loved the school, too. The building, I mean. It was gleaming clean and smelled of floor wax and varnish, the air as yet unsullied by the usual school smells: Post-P.E. B.O., the results from pull-my-finger jokes, that mysterious green stuff janitors sprinkled on all manner of toxic spills, and of course whatever new disaster they were working on down in the cafeteria.
The new school year was full of promise: Maybe this would be the year that you would get a locker that didn’t jam. Maybe this would be the year you could actually GET to your locker, seeing as how the older, larger, ill-tempered boyfriends of the girls on either side of you had graduated and wouldn’t be in the way when you needed to get your English book.
Speaking of girls, maybe this would be the year you’d actually date one.
I notice that I’m referring mostly to the high school experience here. Elementary school year beginnings had many of the same charms (absent the locker-boyfriend drama) plus some bonuses that still have no equal: Fresh boxes of crayons, beautiful new pink erasers, untouched sticks of modeling clay, and those wonderful Scripto cartridge pens (responsible for the aforementioned ink stains until we switched to ball-points, which took over the shirt-ruining duties.)
Now, you’ll notice that I have given minimal mention to education, as in actually learning something, perhaps even something useful. That’s not to say that it wasn’t on our minds. In fact, many of us began the school year thinking this would be the year when we actually knuckled down, got to work, put the nose to the ol’ grindstone and finally got the grades that would satisfy our parents. We would be bursting with energy and strong with resolve, right up until the moment we walked off the bus and through the doors.
There’s nothing in the workaday world of the adult to compare with the first day of school. Is there we so-called grownups could feel it one more time? Maybe we could all start taking long summer vacations.
You know, like we Baby Boomers™ got back in the old days.
Enjoy those new erasers, though.
© 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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