For as long as I can recall and I am guessing for as far back as history records one event has always signaled summer was heading to its end. That was the first day of school. To some it was an event of excitement and to some of us it was a return to a confinement I didn’t much care for. Well maybe that first day back could be fun but about 179 more days sounded like and could feel like an eternity.
I recall the first day of school for me. The year I began the first grade Peg had entered college. Ben was a sophomore and then there was me. Mom made certain that what we were to wear that first day was one of the new outfits she got from Sears. It was its first time to be worn and she had ironed it so that we did look pretty well dressed.(spiffy!) I had also gotten a new Davy Crockett lunchbox. (Ben was in high school and way too cool to carry a lunch box even if it was a Davy Crocket one.) Mom would take us out into the front yard and we always stood in the corner of the front yard in front of a tall plant that I still don’t know the name of but that I guess was to be a back drop for a picture. How could the first day pass by without a photo to recall the event? Mom brings along the brownie box camera and we would stand still as mom didn’t want to waste film and take a second picture.
Once all the ceremony for the first day was over we then waited for the school bus to arrive and take us to Moscow School where I entered into a world I didn’t know yet so I was somewhat interested. Ben took me to my room and handed me over to Mrs. Warden and I never saw him the rest of the day. Even though it was interesting and I got to use that lunch box I was ready to go back home. It seemed that there was an awful lot of hoopla went into the making of the first day of school. (I will say here I adjusted to school and found that socializing was my favorite part.) I don’t remember how many years the first day of school was carried out like this but I do know that the pictures came to an end after only a few years. She had to save that film you know and we weren’t the most cooperative to be photographed.
I know each year I would become apprehensive about returning to school and I would want to go back and have a little more of summer vacation. After all it was always hot in the beginning of school so it must have been too early to start again. I know I was talking with my wife about this topic and she also rode the bus to school and her mom would get her all dressed up and she like me cared more for socializing than rating first in our class in the grade section. One thing I feel we didn’t spread around too much was that we made good grades. How UN cool would that sound?
As time passed our daughter Meghan began her first day of kindergarten at Felicity. That first day my wife had Meghan all dressed up and was ready with the camera. After the bus stopped and Meghan began to step up onto the bus my wife began taking pictures.
Times had changed to where more than one picture was definitely ok! But when she stepped up onto the bus I thought oh no she is going to school with our daughter to photograph it all.
I was wrong and she quickly told me she wanted just one shot of her getting a seat. The following years we took her to the school as we only lived a mile away.
When our son Brendan began Kindergarten my wife took him there. He began school at Bethel Tate School. Again we only lived a couple of miles away and on many days I dropped him off on my way to work. He has admitted that even though he rode the bus a little he cared for it not and decided we were to be his ride to school. Since his mom was a room mother and such she would have reasons to go to the school and he found reasons he should ride with her.
Time has moved on in my family and now that the first day has rolled around I have two grandsons Simon and Max going with new outfits on and new haircuts and looking as well dressed as a child is allowed to look began another year of school. I find it interesting in that the boys find riding the bus enjoyable and like their grandparents stand at the end of their drive waiting to climb onto the bus. Yes the years have gone by but the sequence of events for back to school really haven’t. After thinking about it I don’t think they should change. It is a big happening in our lives, be it the child or the parent or even the grandparent.
The part that did in my time of going to school and my kids going to school and my grandsons is still the same. Yes it is the signal school is officially open but yes this is sending out a message that summer will soon be ending.
I have always loved the summer and its long days and warm nights and all that time to be outside, it just seems the wrong way to signal the end by putting us in a building and along with all the other children in there you are being denied the fun in the sun.
One thing I feel is certain and that is each and every one of us has had the experience and we all have a similar memory. That is summer ends and learning begins!
Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.