The school year starts early here in Alabama.  Maggie and I are already packing her backpack, organizing outfits and preparing for kindergarten this week (that is really hard for me to grasp).  Our dear friend and babysitter – Briana – is heading to college.  The teachers are preparing their classrooms for the barrage of eager students who are headed their way. And I can’t believe that summer is over (although it feels about 120 degrees outside).

Over the next few days, we will share some projects to get us in the mood for school.

(Truth be told, I really disliked school but loved university. If I had more time, I would start working on a Master’s Degree today.  Do three books count as a dissertation?)

15 comments on “THE END OF SUMMER

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  1. Katie

    I think three books is more than enough for a dissertation! The school year is starting for us in Kentucky as well this week. I enjoyed school but I liked college even more, I always liked that slightly nervous feeling in each of the new classes, sizing up the professor and feeling out how the semester would go.

    And I truly love buying school supplies still.

  2. Grey Walker

    My dissertation will be a perfect grey t-shirt. I am modifying a standard pattern, and I’ve made six versions so far.

  3. Jessica

    I remember the first day of sophomore year in High school in particular. I had been reading fashion magazines (early 90’s) and decided I must have metallic shoes. Being a DIY kid I took my old Converse All-stars (high-tops) and hoofed it to the hardware store for some silver spray paint. I painted the Chucks that afternoon and proudly wore them the next day.

    Unfortunately, they stunk to high heaven. I was sitting in the library and kids kept commenting on the smell! I had to seek out some gym sneakers and stash them away until they fully dried. Fortunately that didn’t curb my desire to make my own fashion! Always good to laugh at our own silly decisions – especially on the first day of school.

  4. Martha

    In August of 1988, the week before my youngest son Nicholas would go to his first day of pre-kindergarten, I set out to take him to his new school to meet his teacher. I took my lunch hour early and left the office to pick up Nicholas at his grandmother’s, where he stayed while I was at work. Now, it’s important to remember that we lived in a very small town in north Florida, smaller than Florence even, and that I had lived there since the year before I was married, about 10 years. When I returned a half hour later, flustered and hot, my mother asked how it had gone. “I couldn’t find it,” I told her, as Nicholas ran past us to catch the end of Sesame Street. “What!” she exclaimed. “That’s ridiculous. Pull yourself together.” She loaded the two of us back in the car and told me in no uncertain terms to take Nicholas to meet his teacher. We did, the school was very nice, and Nicholas’ new teacher was a lovely person who knew instinctively that he would like to see a grasshopper that one of the students was playing with. That evening, we had dinner as usual, he told his dad and brother about his new school, and after his bath, Nicholas curled up on my lap for me to read him a book before bedtime. “I really like your new school,” I said, as much for my sake as for his. “Yes, it is okay,” Nicholas assented resignedly. “But I just feel like all my happy days are over.” Nicholas, his older brother Christopher, and I shared many first days of school after that, but we all always knew that the first day of one thing, no matter how exciting, is the end of something else.

  5. Louise Farant

    I remember my first day of school in September 1969. I was beginning Kindergarten at the school where my mother taught. I had a white schoolbag and a beautiful red, white and blue dress and cape that my mother had made for the occasion. It was out of Phentex for your fibreholics out there and you can imagine how wonderfully warm it was all through the year.

    And scratchy. That yarn was like steel wool against my skin. But it didn’t matter because it was the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. And it didn’t matter that there were several hundred people in the assembly area in the school rather than outside because it was raining so very hard. And it didn’t matter when my mother left me to go tend to her duties as a school teacher and I was left, unbeknownst to me, under the watchful eye of one of the wonder sisters who taught with my mother.

    None of that mattered because I felt sick to my stomach. I didn’t know what the feeling was because, honestly, until I got pregnant with my first child, I can only remember losing my breakfast once in my life. It was in Grade 9 when I got pleurisy.

    So there was I in a too-hot dress, in a too-crowded assembly hall, all alone and nauseous. Suddenly the wonderful sister, whose name escapes me now, swooped me up and took me to the side door. I didn’t know what had hit me. Here was this nun in her great black habit and enormous black and white coif that looked like a great halo around her head holding me by the hand outside and saving me from spilling my guts in front of everyone. I got some cooler air into me and she took my cape off my shoulders. I remember uttering a meek “merci, ma soeur” in thanks and then back in just in time to hear my name called for Madame’s class.

    I have nothing but great memories of those sisters who taught us. My last one was Sister Jeannette in 5th grade. They were wonderful women who were dedicated to education and knowledge, who were educated and knowledgeable and who gave me a need to learn that has lasted all these years.

    I have thought of these great women more than once this summer as my baby boy goes into Grade 1 and my eldest, my baby girl, starts college. I wish such great teachers on everyone.

  6. gisele

    All I remember from my first day of school is the picture. I am in a navy skirt and white cardigan holding my dad’s hand in front of our really tall while fence. I’ve got the biggest grin on my face. I’m full of confidence and ready to go. My dad has a red beard which I haven’t seen in a looong time, bellbottoms and a groovy brown leather jacket.
    I wonder where that girl went, I kind of miss her.

    1. Tina Leigh

      The first day of fourth grade I had on red leggings, red High Top Reeboks, and a long colorful Espirit sweater and I thought I was hot stuff. I was furious, however, that my conservative mom had not let me cut my hair in the style of a cross between Cyndi Lauper and the models in the Espirit catalog (short on one side and longer on the other with a rainbow streak~~wonder why she didn’t let her little 9 year old do that??) I remember being so happy on the way to school that day!!

  7. Heather

    One first day of school I remember was fourth grade. I had the “meanest teacher in the school”. She was the first teacher I had that had had my much older sister also in her class, and she kept calling me by my sister’s name. I wouldn’t notice that she was calling on me and she kept getting more and more mad when I wouldn’t respond. I don’t think I really liked that day very much, but the year didn’t end up to be TOO bad. 🙂

  8. Heather

    My family moved the summer before the second grade. My mother was planning on taking the day off from work to take me to my first day at a new school. I begged and pleaded until I convinced her I could ride the bus by myself.

    The morning of my first day, I get everything loaded in my backpack and got on the school bus. At the school, I remember thinking that all the other kids were so much bigger than me, but I followed everyone inside. I sat in the cafeteria while everyone’s name was called – except mine. It seams that only grades 3-6 were starting school that day. Second grade was starting the next day.

    So, the next day, I once again got on the bus and made my way back for my second 1st day of school. Getting off the bus that morning, I was teased for my height and was called “string bean” and “Jolly Green Giant.” Then, I made it to my classroom but couldn’t find my name on the class list. It took a good part of the morning to realize my records were listed under my first name, but I use my middle name.

    After that first day, things went more smoothly. It also did not dampen my excitement for school. Every year I counted the days until I could leave summer behind and go supply shopping. There is just something special about a brand new notebook. Possibilities!

    1. Rosemarie

      By now all my memories are a blur and I can’t even be sure this was a first day of school but my mom got me up very early one morning to give my hair a makeover. She put all kinds of potions in it, and having to stop and make breakfast, left me in the bathroom while a particular cream worked its wonders. I remember looking in the mirror and being certain that my blonde hair was turning red, and I burst into tears. She came back later and of course wondered what was the matter, rinsed out the cream, dried my hair, which turned out to be the same blonde as before.

  9. Claudia B. Manley

    The first day of school has changed for me over the years. When I was a kid, I used to get so wound up, not in an obviously neurotic way, but in the “I-can’t-go-to-sleep” way. Sometimes my mother would come and rub my stomach to calm me down. (I didn’t realize that this was not an universally accepted practice until my partner wondered what I was doing when I was trying to make her feel better.) I know, it sounds like I was a mess, but it was all inside. My mom just knew.

    Now I teach university students, and the first day of class is still an event full of nervous excitement, but thankfully, I have no trouble sleeping. Also, now I document what I wear to teach, which makes everyday a bit new.

  10. Tracie

    I hated the first day of school as a kid. I was always ill. I was a great student but I never really liked elementary or high school. I too loved University and imagine, now and then, going back for my masters. I am just shy of 50 so I doubt it will ever happen but the idea of getting to spend that time focusing on what I love and learning all I can about new things still excites me. I could handle those first day butterflies in my belly now.

    I live in Alabama too and though we are feeling those new school year pangs, I home school my kids so we aren’t packing up backpacks and lunchboxes. My girls are sitting at the kitchen table with me right now where I am painting (I am an artist as well as mom and teacher) nibbling on peaches and reading to me. We are spending our week gathering books and sussing out lesson plans and hitting the back to school sales just like everyone else. Our routines will be a little different from here on out but it’s a new year for us just the same as it is for you. I have a first and third grader now! I love that I can keep my girls home with me where they get to study in bare feet and I get to watch as they grow and learn. I am also happy that we can rummage through the mounds of composition books at the back to school sales together –to find just the right color just like I used to do as a kid–way back when. That part of the new school year is still my favorite part. Some things never change.

    Here is to another school year! May it be filled with creativity, good books, thoughtful teachers, healthy lunches and good friends.

    1. Michelle

      I am just finishing my Ph.D. dissertation and had thought I would be defending it this fall and attending May convocation. My advisor had told me to start submitting the paperwork in order to arrange for the distribution of my dissertation to my committee and signal my intent to defend. When I copied him on the filing of the paperwork a couple of weeks ago, he wrote back and said that it would take until next spring (!?!?!!) to get my committee together for the defense and to withdraw my letter of intent. He says I will probably graduate in time to attend the October 2012 convocation.

      I have finally recovered from the shock and am back at my desk. And I will have my first day teaching at a new university next week! It would be great to have an Alabama Chanin project to work on for the commute!

  11. jennifer c.

    i am not sure if this memory is from the first day of school, but it is certainly from about the first week. it was kindergarten, there were so many rules: stand still in line, raise your hand to speak, sit at the same chair every time. one of the rules was that during the morning announcements and pledge of allegiance, you must stand straight, hand on heart, looking at the flag, only speaking to recite the pledge. you must not talk to your neighbor or the teacher, you must not walk around or sit down. well i desperately need to use the restroom, but like a good girl, i stood there, hand on heart, and peed in my new school dress, crying. thankfully this didn’t color my view of school for the negative, and ended up liking it just fine. but i did learn that there are always exceptions to the rules. 🙂