Posted tagged ‘broken glass’

“Describing her first day back in grade school after a long absence, a teacher said, It was like trying to hold 35 corks under water at the same time. “

September 7, 2015

Labor Day was the last day of freedom for me. School always started the next day. I knew when it was Labor Day even before I mastered calendars as my mother always sang a happy tune. Nothing flustered her. I suspect the chant of one more day was repeating in her head blocking out anything else including our usual squabbles. She forced us to bathe even though we hadn’t gotten all that dirty since Saturday. We complained but she didn’t really care. By bedtime, an early bedtime, more cause for complaint, her inner voice was chanting tomorrow, tomorrow. Had it existed, the song from Annie could have been her anthem.

We were a bit excited but not anything we’d admit. I looked through my pencil box time and again. It could only be new once. Before I went to bed, my school bag was ready with a pad of paper, that pencil box and some crayons, a small box. My mother would make our lunches in the morning and put them in the lunch boxes. She always took out the thermos bottles if we weren’t going to use them. They were easily broken. I can still remember the tinkling sound of thin glass in a broken thermos bottle. Our new clothes and shoes were out and ready. The shoes we’d wear every day but the clothes were only for the first day. After that, uniforms were the order of the day. We already knew our teachers. It was a nun one year and a regular person the next year except in the sixth ad seventh grades. No nuns taught either of those years, but a nun taught each of the eighth grade classes.

I don’t remember when I stopped using a lunch box and used a brown bag instead. I guess it was a milestone of sorts. Gone too were the pencil cases and the school bags. I used pens and carried my books. School wasn’t just the end of vacation. It was also the return of routine. That was the worse part.