After Thanksgiving passes and the heart of the holidays arrive upon the scene I have always looked at that time as a gift in so many ways. Of course there are the holiday’s ways to look but I am thinking of a few other gifts we might have forgotten as the years have moved along up the scale of the years.
When a young boy in elementary school I would get all excited about the seasons of Christmas and New years that were headed our way. All the hoopla and fuss that was made over it all. It was enough to rev my engine up for the main event. But what might have been more exciting than the main event was that last day of school before winter break! Yes, the thought of no school for approximately two weeks was a thought that I could hardly contain myself from yelling it out that it was almost here.
Yes that last day before the break was when the room mothers would show up with all kinds of sweets and goodies that we all enjoyed but all the sugar that was in them served only to rev us up to the point of breaking the sound barrier. With goodies and games and even back then there were gift exchanges each child departed at the end of the day prepared and expecting their time off to be of monumental proportions. Now of course they never really lived up to the total euphoria but the time off was fun and probably not only timely for us to have a break from the school routine but more than likely was a more enjoyable time for our teachers as they could spend some more time with folks their own age and away from us.
Now if my memory serves me correctly as we moved on up into high school we as students still looked forward to the break at the end of the year but we changed just how we celebrated the event. Wove in around the basketball games was the Christmas dance. This event was the peak of what we did to reach that last day of school and the holidays. There would be some gift exchange and of course the home room teacher would get a surprise gift from all of us in the class. The last day at school was a day where the only thing the teacher would get to achieve would be taking the roll call. The day was just one big day of goofing off. (How could that be wrong?)
Over the time off one or maybe two kids might host a party. These were fun but definitely chaperoned. Also in the years of high school think back and please remember we were anything but mature yet. For the most part we were awkward in interacting with the opposite sex. Oh we thought we were so hot and slick at the time but I bet if you just think for a minute you might remember that asking someone to dance was near to impossible. But we were getting a taste of growing up and it wasn’t in a school building. Nope we were out almost on our own.
What I really like to recall was after we had graduated from school. At that time about 50 percent of the class found jobs or took our place working on the family farm. (That was where I ended up that first year.) The other 50 per cent entered college and dared to expand their minds to move onward out into the world. By the end of the first quarter of school which was winter break time some had decided college wasn’t for them and they returned back to good ole Felicity.
But with the students returning home for a couple of weeks the group of kids I had gone through school with were all back in the same area and we got to see each other again.
To reunite at this time was truly a great feeling to me. Since they were limited to their time back home they had to divide it between their families and their friends. We would spend much time catching them up on what they had missed back home while they were away and of course I feel we worked at making it sound better than it was. They in turn would tell us what life at college was like. They would try to explain the difficulty of the higher learning and also about their new friends they now had. Personally I guess I really didn’t like the fact they were making new friends. My reason was I was jealous as new friends meant they might be moving people in that could replace me. I will tell you today just how silly that thought was as a true friend is never replaced. The new friends can only be added.
We would maybe have a gathering during the time they were home as the time moved faster than any time I had ever encountered up until that time. Now since my cousin Walt and I were batching we would hold the gathering more than likely. The difference now was we were all out of school and adults. Very young adults but adults just the same. It was at this time that we seemed to make that transition from awkward kid to kind of smooth adult. I know we would put on some records and set up some snacks and spend almost every minute conversing with each other. It seemed that over the time between graduation and the holidays some of the reality of the real world was taking us over.
I know for us boys there was Viet Nam and the unavoidable draft. No matter what we were doing with our lives we could never forget it might only be temporary. This was a time and a topic that was uncomfortable to talk about but we did. The girls of our group understood just what an uncertainty it was but in their movement into the world life was waking them up in its own way. In the late 60’s women’s’ rights were just really in their beginning. So each girl had a road block that only they could take on for their self.
But as we enjoyed our times together the old year ended and the New Year began. Those in college packed up and returned to the books. The rest of us, well we returned to what we had been doing but with good thoughts from the break and already thinking that we will gather together again at spring break! Won’t that be fun?
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.