Posted tagged ‘school starting’

“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.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

September 4, 2014

School started here today. I heard the kids walking to the bus stop at the end of the street. Two parents with coffee in hands were with them. At about nine the five boys finally boarded the bus but not before they’d hung off a tree branch, climbed another tree and chased each other. Right now the summer rental next door is having its weeds mowed, and I can hear the clicking when the mower hits rocks. It hasn’t been a quiet morning.

At the housewarming party friends threw for me when I bought this house in 1977 one of the gifts was an iron. I’d do my wash, hang up everything which needed to be ironed on a line downstairs, and when I had a enough clothes, I’d set up the ironing board, watch TV and iron my clothes. I’d do that every couple of weeks. I still have that iron, and it looks as good as new. I can’t even remember the last time I used it. When my nephew started school in the mid-1980’s, he was given a test of reading readiness. The only thing on any part of the test he couldn’t identify was an iron. I only one person who still irons, and he is mystified that I don’t. My clothes have that right out of the dryer look, but they’re never wrinkled enough for ironing except for a couple of linen shirts which I do wash but bring to the cleaners for ironing. My iron can now be described as vintage 1970’s.

When I went to Ghana, I didn’t bring any music, but my mother sent me a cassette recorder and some of my tapes. The recorder was that rectangular one we all had. My camera was an Instamatic. Pop in the film and take your pictures. My mother had to send slide film to me as Ghana had no film at all for the camera, not even film for stills. I had to send the finished films to my mother to be developed. When my house was broken into, the thief left the camera.

I have some albums which I first bought on vinyl, then cassette, then CD’s and now I upload new ones or ones I don’t have from iTunes and similar sites. I can’t remember the last cookbook I bought, and I used to collect cookbooks. The only ones I’d buy now are those based on novels or authors to add to my collection.

I have a CD player, a multi-zone DVD player, an HD TV, which was the first in the neighborhood, an iPad, an iPod, and an iPhone. The phone needs to be upgraded but I don’t really care. It does enough for me. I know there is blue-tooth to replace my DVD player so I’m behind a generation, but I don’t care about that either.

I use to be filled with wonder at all the changes my grandmother had seen in her lifetime: from the beginning of air flight to the trip to the moon being the most amazing. I have grown up and gotten older in a world where change is a constant. Think about it. It is now so commonplace we seldom even notice.