THE SONIC BOOMER
Can you believe it? It’s almost August! Where did those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer go? Well, some of them went to the beach, others to theme parks and, sadly, still others have been absorbed into the school year. When I was growing up, school didn’t start until after Labor Day.
Those were the good ol’ days. There was so much summer that children actually started to get bored with it. I can only imagine how “boring” it was for dear old mom.
Back then, our summer routine was the same — the final bell would ring on the last day of school, and we students would burst out the doors like we were making a jail break. We didn’t so much as glance back at the teachers who had been taking care of us for nine long months, and that was probably just as well. I don’t doubt that they were at the school windows, watching the mass exodus and laughing (it had to be quite a sight), but they probably didn’t do that for long — it was the beginning of their vacation, too.
Upon arriving home, we kids would change into our play clothes with a vengeance, kicking our school clothes into the back of the closet with the hopes of never seeing them again. (And we probably didn’t… kids grow quickly during the school year but even more quickly during the summer, or so it seems.) We spent the late afternoon and early evening hours reconnecting with friends and making plans.
When dawn broke the next morning, we were up with it, even though our parents could barely rouse us during the school year. We were all suddenly “morning people.” There was so much to do!
We’d hop on our bikes and ride miles to the big park, something we certainly could’ve done any Saturday during the school year but didn’t. It felt different during the summer — like we had the time to do it right. I suppose it was our little version of piling into the car and going to Orlando. However, being kids, we hadn’t brought money or packed a lunch or remembered our sunscreen or swimsuits or fishing poles or anything — so we were back home within hours… hungry, sunburned and vowing to do it right tomorrow. Tuckered out from pedaling, our plan was to spend the rest of the afternoon lounging in front of the TV with a peanut butter sandwich.
Our mother had other plans for us, however, so back outside we went, and that is where we spent most of the three months that comprised our summer. We gave nary a thought to returning to school until suddenly, mom was taking us for new shoes and the stores were decorated with posters featuring chalkboards and apples.
Doom slowly settled over us and we “crammed” to get every last bit of fun out of the summer, playing wildly and trying to fit too much into every day. And then, just like April 15 for adults, it was here: The First Day of School.
The blow was softened slightly by new clothes, a new lunchbox and meeting up with old friends, but that excitement only lasted a day. By day two, our young energy had been harnessed and channeled to desktops as the solemn task of learning long division began.
Don’t get me wrong — even though everyone uses a calculator now, I’m glad I know how to do long division. But math skills will never be something I cherish. Summertime will.