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"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Remember when?

Today is the first day back to school for most.
Do you remember that day?
Not so much the 'independant' teenage years but
those younger days in elementary, primary school?
The excitement of putting on the new clothes your mom
bought only a few weeks back?
The brand new shoes?
New knee socks?
Here's a picture my dad took on one of those days...
I remember this day in particular because my mom had bought me a new dress and when
I went to put it on, I felt awkward and 'stupid' looking.
It probably wasn't the dress but my awkward stage of the tween years.
So I grabbed my most comfortable jumper (unironed!)
and went to my first day of grade 5 wearing that.
On my walk this morning I was reminiscing about the feelings
of the first day back after what seemed to be an endless summer.
The smell of new books and pencils.
Printing your name so neat on everything you owned?
Here is my daughter on one of her first days back to school...
She was pretty excited because she was old enough to ride her bike.
I made her tie the bike lock key around her
neck with a day-glow orange ribbon so she wouldn't lose it.
I remember walking, pretty much everyday, with
my older brother and sister.
We lived in one of those new suburban neighbourhoods
of Toronto where all the kids walked to school.
Here we are on a cold school morning...
Tracy and I were so proud of our matching 'midi' winter coats!
Although we're quite happy here, I was jealous of the kids who
got to ride a bus to school.
Yeah, the big yellow school bus.
WE had to WALK.
That was until I realized (through school field trips) that school buses were puke smelling,
seat saving, name calling hell on wheels.
It was only a few blocks to walk, but it felt like those stories you
hear of Prairie kids who had to walk 20 miles in a snowstorm without
shoes or a coat to get to school.
When I was about 10, my mom went back to school one year.
Here she is after graduation a few years after...
While she was becoming a nurse, my dad was Mr Mom.
He was much better at it than Michael Keaton was in the movie.
We always had a parent at home.
When mom went to school, and later to work at the hospital,
my dad woke us, fed us breakfast (Usually puffed wheat with powdered milk)
got us off to school and then had lunch (grilled cheese sandwiches and soup quite often)
ready for us at mid day. He would work evenings.
I don't think I knew any 'latch key kids' in those days.
In fact the only single parent household was my friend Kathy Daly
who's dad died one year of a heart attack.
My daughter learned to come home on her own when she was old enough
and has been pretty much independent ever since.
So here's to all the kids on their first day back.
 To all the mom's and dad's who get them up and going.
And to all those teachers who keep them going all year.


Suz said...

oh you are a cutie
and I love the jumper...
I walked to school too..seemed like 10 miles..but I think it was about a mile...but in Chicago winter...cooooolllldddd
I had a stay at home mom too
it was the 50's
and the world seemed perfect to me
except for Mrs Weber

the wild magnolia said...

memories are good for the soul.

farmlady said...

I'm sure that we all remember "the first day" every year. For me, it was always filled with excitement and a little trepidation. I would have rather stayed home with Mom... baking cookies and taking nature walks, but I was kind of shy and found school a bit overwhelming.
Later, when Mom went to work, I didn't like coming home to an empty house but it had to be.
I just watched my grandchild start kindergarten and second grade. They were so excited. The tradition continues. It's a good thing.