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School's Out, Summer's here
Summer Vacation! These words strike terror through the hearts of parents everywhere. Youngsters will now be home and under foot. Kids who will quickly become bored and say they don’t have anything to do.
I recall my early grade school years with fond recollections of care free abandonment. Believe it or not, I didn’t always like going to school. (As if any kid really did.) It was the last days of my third grade classes I eagerly anticipated the most. When the last bell rang that day, officially declaring freedom and the beginning of summer vacation, I rejoiced. I was the first child out the door and once outside began racing around, jumping up and down, whooping and hollering and generally making a fool out of myself.
School Was Out
But, I didn’t care. School was out and the next three months would be spent without books, pencils or teachers assigning homework. As I ran home I loudly sang an old favorite kids’ tune commemorating the last day of school. You remember, don’t you? “No more teaching, no more books and no more teachers’ dirty looks”! Life was good.
I began thinking of all the things my brothers and I could do this summer. It didn’t take long to fill up an itinerary. We would finish our “fort” in a nearby old broken down abandoned house. One we had been warned to keep out of due to hazards. One we had recently “won” from the kid’s down the street.
We’d go fishing and camping giving me an opportunity to earn the rest of my Cub Scout outdoorsman badges. I had to do that, because girls love men in uniform…or so Dad told me. The possibilities seemed endless.
When I arrived home, I stowed my school things deep to the rear of my bedroom closet, not to be seen for the next few months. I was still in high spirits when I found Mom cooking in the kitchen. The list of activities I had mentally stowed away came bubbling forth as I told Mom my extensive plans for summer. However, she continued working, seemingly trying to avoid eye contact with me.
“Wait a minute”, I thought. “Something’s not right here! Why isn’t she paying attention to the plans I’ve made for summer vacation?” At that moment my other brothers burst into the kitchen also excited about similar plans they had dreamed up. They immediately halted in their tracks as they also sensed impending doom.
Mom ceased her toil. “Wait until you see what we’ve got planned for you boys”, she remarked enthusiastically. But her enthusiasm seemed to lack true authenticity. She led us into the dining room and pointed to the dining table. “Take a look”, she grinned. There on the table were three stacks of papers. There was one stack for each of us. We exchanged glances and discerned this was not going to end well.
Mom handed a stack to each of us. They were completed enrollment forms for summer school, vacation bible classes and a book reading club sponsored by the local library. I mentally shredded the itinerary I had composed in my mind.
Kids apparently have a short attention span. Mom queried, “Remember last summer vacation when you had all those things planned you were going to do?” Yes, we remembered them but had forgotten how the summer had turned out.
Somehow all the exciting plans we had made never materialized. We had opted instead to laze around the house watching TV and complain there was nothing to do.
Our parents were obviously smarter then we gave them credit for.