Monday, September 4, 2017

The Last Day of Summer Vacation

Today should be the last day of summer vacation.  School should start the day after Labor Day.  I know this as a proven fact; my inner clock reminds me each and every September.  I'm sorry if you disagree, but you are wrong.  Seriously wrong.  

Families should gather for one last day at the beach/the park/the ball field/the river/the backyard and eat hamburgers and toast marshmallows and catch fireflies as the moon rises over the neighbor's chimney.  Fourth of July seems like ages ago, the air is a little bit cooler, the days a little bit shorter, and it's time to get back to work.

Here in Tucson, kids have been in school for a month.  It's just not right.  

In honor of Labor Day, I am taking the day off.  Instead, I'm reviving an oldie but a goodie, from August 24, 2009.  Read and enjoy and say thank you to someone who works for a living. 

The First Day of School

Daddooooo always gave us a new pencil the night before the first day of school. It had the logo of his business, fancy green calligraphy and a point that was sharpened to the teeniest tiniest most perfect tip. It made you want to get to school the next morning just so you could write with it.

We got new shoes for the first day of school. Gym shoes were just that - shoes you wore in gym class. They weren't worn in the classroom and if you hadn't grown, last year's model would work just fine. But you definitely got new school shoes, along with a new purse or lunch box depending on your age and gender and a haircut and 3 new outfits. I suppose we out-grew or ripped or otherwise mutilated clothes which had to be replaced, but I don't remember much beyond the 3 new outfits and the shoes.

If you had a smart mom, which we did, you'd already bought the basic school supplies a week or so earlier. The notebooks had to be the right thickness, and the lines on the paper the exact shade of blue, but that was personal preference rather than dictated by a list. 

Our 3-ring binders with light blue cloth covers and a printed label inside the front cover where you wrote your name and new grade started out pristine and ended up raveling at the edges and covered in doodles and notes and memories of the year, transcribed as they happened. Sometimes I got a new one for the second semester.

Personally, I preferred the 48-count box of Crayolas to the 64-count. In third grade we were allowed to bring ink pens to school. Real ink pens, since ball-points were a rarity (Bich and the Biro brothers created the clear plastic stick pen in 1952, the year I was born). You could bring a fountain pen and an ink jar or you could use a cartridge pen with disposable plastic ink cartridges. Lavender or turquoise or black or royal blue inks were all acceptable; red was only for the teacher.

Beyond providing my pencil and a good luck hug and kiss, Daddooooo's role was to leave in the morning before we got up, just like he did every morning. Getting to school was a G'ma and kids operation and he only got in our way. 

Summer was over; the new year was beginning.


  1. My birthday is in mid-August and I agree completely that school should start after Labor Day! I think it still does in some places but these Arizona school schedules are ridiculous. My kids had just one school year with ALL of June, July & August off and it was great.

  2. Growing up in the country, we didn't start school until the raisin harvest was done, usually September 8-14. Of course, when I went to school, we were only required to attend 170 days, not 180 like today's kids. Also, it wasn't a big deal if kids went to Mexico at Christmas and didn't make it back in time for the end of the semester. There were no state tests required to make the school look good (or bad). And the schools didn't pay much attention to how well they educated the migrant children. Times have changed, and I think, for the better.

  3. I think I forget all too often how close those days are to today.


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!