“Term, holidays, term, holidays, till we leave school, and then work, work, work till we die.”

My daffodil shoots are getting taller with the unexpected winter warmth. The temperature is already 62°, plant boosting weather. I just wish it was sunny.

Yard clean-up tops the chore list today. I’ll grab my prisoner stick and clear the yard of Nala’s trash, mostly paper, empty water bottles and cat food cans. Thieving Nala has a tell. She doesn’t walk down the hall. She struts with her pilfered goods in her mouth. That’s when I usually see her, too late to catch her. I followed her to the yard this morning. She went out the dog door with the whole Cape Times in her mouth, my fault. I left the paper on the floor. She did drop it when I asked and came running, but I think it was merely whim and the thought of a bit of coffee that had her dropping the paper. I collected it from the yard.

When I was a kid, we never did anything special during February or April vacations. My father worked. His vacation time was always in the summer. If it was warm enough and we had no snow, I’d ride my bike. I always rode alone. My neighborhood friends didn’t ride. I never understood that. They missed the joy of speeding down the hill. They didn’t get to ride proudly with no hands, a great feat. They were stuck while I roamed all over town.

I don’t go to my old town often, but when I do, I take a nostalgia tour. I ride on Main Street from the highway exit all the way through up-town pass the fire station, the town hall, the four churches on the corners and my grammar school and parish church. From there I do the route I walked every school day for eight years. The best houses are gone. The railroad tracks are also gone. The hill on which our house sits still looks a bit daunting, but I remember when I finally rode my bike all the way up that hill. I was triumphant.

My mother didn’t learn to drive until her thirties. If we, she and all of us kids, went anywhere on a weekday we either walked or took a bus. We used to go to East Boston to visit my grandparents and my aunt. We’d walk up town, take the bus to Sullivan Square and from there we’d take the subway. We had to change train lines. My mother was always worried she’d lose one of us. The rule was if we got separated we were to go one more station, get off and wait. That never happened. When I used to take the train in high school, I’d tell my traveling buddies, my friends, the same thing. That never happened then either.

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2 Comments on ““Term, holidays, term, holidays, till we leave school, and then work, work, work till we die.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Yesterday, we hit a high temperature of a very balmy 77°. Unfortunately, a cold front came through at about ten o’clock last night and I awake to a chilly 37°. Now it’s only up to 47°.

    Of course Nala prances when she heads out the doggie door with her prize. She’s showing off her prowess to you.

    February through April are the dog days of winter and the beginning of springtime. Accept for Valentine’s Day there’s nothing interesting happening until Spring Break. We also planned our vacations in the early summer. Spring Break in the Dallas Independent School District was just Good Friday and the Easter weekend. Our summer vacation went from Memorial Day through Labor Day because the schools weren’t air conditioned back then.

    My mother also didn’t learn how to drive until her thirties. When we lived in Brooklyn we had one car and my mother walked within the neighborhood for groceries or to spend time with her mother who lived a few blocks away. When we moved to Dallas my mother had to learn how to drive because the distances to the grocery store was too far to walk. Her first car was a 1950, Kaiser. It had an automatic transmission because she was afraid to drive a stick.

    At the end of WWII a returning GI goes into a Kaiser-Frazer dealership to buy his girlfriend a new car. The salesman says, “Why don’t you buy her a Kaiser and surprise her”. The GI thinks it over, when the salesman says, “Or, buy her a Frazer and amaze her”. The GI thinks for another minute and says to the salesman, “I’m leaving to go buy her a Tucker”. 🙂 It’s an old bad joke.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      There was record smashing warmth here today. It was over 60° in most of the state and 62° in Boston breaking a record from 1912. We would need 3 times the snow we’ve had to get to the usual February average. We’ve had enough rain to get us out of drought conditions.

      I don’t usually catch Nala. She prances with or without me watching. It’s a boxer thing.

      The ocean makes for a late spring here, but it also gifts us with a long fall, the best part of the year.

      Our schools are not air-conditioned. The year goes from the day after Labor Day to 180 days whenever that is reached. I liked it when we had Good Friday off then April vacation the next week. I often went to Europe, to one place, for the whole week.

      My mother learned to drive for the same reason your mother learned. Here on the cape, she couldn’t walk to stores and supermarkets. They were too far away so she had to get her license. She always had an automatic transmission. She never learned to drive a stick.

      It is always great to end with a joke, bad or not!

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