Oh heck ya, it’s back to school time. yay. Sorry I was never too excited to go back to school. Actually, I couldn’t stand it and the mere mention of that phrase “back to school” still gives me the heebee geebees, the creepy crawlies, the dry heaves, the booloo mooloos. Yes, I made that last one up but you kinda like it don’t you? Come on, you do. I’m so gonna start using it.
So OK, school time wasn’t for me but I do appreciate the hugeness of it. It’s a heady time. Think about your school years. There will never be another time in your life when you are so tightly associated with the same group of people for that long. Some of these associations with classmates are for 12 straight years. Then you graduate, hopefully, and poof. You are off into the big world and never again are you in that kind of a social institution again. Work buddies are different. There just isn’t that same connection. Good or bad it’s just not the same. People have lives outside of work. But when you’re in school you really don’t. Except for the summers.
Ahh the summer. I loved it. I lived for it. But sadly it was fleeting. It’s so much more than the weather too. It was ….freedom. Like real freedom. At least for me it was.
The end of May would come, the bell would ring and it was like, “See ya later teachers and parents and responsibility until Sept!” Ya, May to September. Remember that? Now what is it, like a few weeks in July? Geez! Mine seemed like entire lifetimes would come and go in comparison. Bell to bell I was off the grid. Of course there was no grid back then and no cell phones and no way to keep track of me. The pool all day, a pick-up game of ball in the afternoon and then shenanigans and tomfoolery all night. Next day, rinse and repeat. I am not kidding. It was like that all summer long. We never did camps or clinics or any of that stuff. I was the youngest of 6. My folks were over it by then. I get it. Actually, I loved it. I had it good. The street was my teacher. She could be cruel but she was honest. Oh who am I kidding. We moved out to the west O suburbs by the time I was 3. Leawood West wasn’t exactly the mean streets. We had one weirdo in the whole neighborhood and everyone knew to stay away from that house. Besides that it couldn’t have been safer. The salad days. The wonder years.
Then came Labor Day. It loomed like a giant dark cloud creeping over my sunny summer. Relentless with no regard to freedom, to summer love, to bare feet, to running from the cops, to kick the can, to homemade pyrotechnics, to amateur aviation, to “Kill The Man with the Ball” (actual name of a game we made up. I don’t think I need to explain the rules here. Its pretty self explanatory). If not for my birthday at the end of August I don’t know how I would have made it. That and the Jerry Lewis telethon. A legit excuse to literally stay up all night. “Hey it’s for charity Mom!” We once jumped on a neighbor’s trampoline all night to raise money. “Jump for Jerry’s Kids.” I recall we raised a total of $36 bucks.
I’ve tried hard to give my kids some sort of taste of my summers. I don’t schedule them a lot to do but I do try to keep an eye on things. Times have changed but some things never change. The cloud is rolling in.
Alas, “Back to School.” Oh my gosh I just got the booloo mooloos.

Thomas Sena

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