Tuesday, May 22, 2012

School's Out

Summer is definitely here. Although the weather can still be erratic, alternating from hot and humid one day to cooler and breezy the next, our need for sandals and sunglasses has grown steadily. It's time to hydrate and relax a bit.

When you were a kid, do you remember how wonderful it was to become aware of arriving warm weather? The first few days of steady sunshine and blooming flowers set your neurons into motion and signaled that the school year would be over -- finally.

The first few days of each school year were always somewhat daunting, even for kids like me who enjoyed going to school. Numerous unknowns came into play and we were not sure what to expect for the following months. What was the teacher going to be like? Was he/she nice or very strict? Would you grasp the new subjects and lessons that awaited? Would you be able to sit close to your current best friend? Regardless of how good/bad the coming year might be, there was comfort in knowing it would eventually end. Like a brief jail sentence, that alone was reassuring. The arrival of spring with Easter and then Mother's Day confirmed that freedom was within grasp.

How wonderful to see the days marked off of the calendar, each disappearing date an enticement. The end of the school year began to take on a life of its own. Three more weekly spelling tests, then two, then one. The thrill of having the teacher collect those textbooks which were no longer needed. No more Science chapters! One more Geography test!

It was glorious when the last day arrived, usually just before or after Memorial Day. The local public swimming pool was open and life was sweet. We could breathe a little easier.

Our family didn't always take a long vacation. But my brother and I and our friends had plenty of fun anyway. There were bikes to ride, visits to local parks and the pool, adventures of all sorts, movies to watch, (non-video) games to play. I don't recall ever whining about being "bored." If I felt there was nothing to do, I FOUND something to do. Kids who got restless during the 1950s and 60s had no one to blame but themselves. There was plenty to do even before we became a nation of plugged-in zombies.

Personal safety was not an issue. We rode our bikes everywhere and never locked them.

We thought nothing of going alone to a friend's house or meeting someone downtown at the movies. Few people locked their doors. Parents today not only cannot imagine such an innocent era, probably believing the same dangers existed then but went recognized. Not so.

During the years when President Eisenhower occupied the White House, people of all ages used their imaginations. We read books, developed hobbies and spent time with friends. It was an upbeat time when people thought about such futuristic issues as space travel, enjoyed 3-D movies and the fledgling world of television.

People and life in general were quite different then. There have been many changes in our culture since those years. Many of us have come to realize that change is not always a good thing.

1 comment:

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