Wednesday, September 03, 2014


It’s that time of the year again, when we start to gather ourselves for the coming onslaught of fall, the change of weather and the Holiday season. And if you are a fan of baseball and football, one is ending and another is beginning a season.

Back in the day, after spending the summer on the concrete and playing with abandon, the summer nights came quicker. They snuck up to the point that we had very little time to play in the light of day or even the gloom of sunset, and it was our warning that soon the evenings would be spent in an apartment, doing homework or studying for the next day, it was the advent of school!

Once more around the block!
Many a sad child would skate one more time around the block, punch one more ball or smack a Spaulding as it bounced your way, while you waited for it with an old broom handle ready to send it 2 sewers. Sadness prevailed.

That first day back from summer vacation marked itself differently from the last day of school, just weeks before, when we felt that there was a life time of summer days in front of us to enjoy and play with our friends. What were landmarks on the route to our education became part of the scenic spots for fun, mischief and sources of amusement. In September, once again the landmarks pointed to business!

One of the things I remember most was the new shoes we got for the new school year. We were poor but Mom made sure we were always dressed properly with polished shoes and that when we returned home from school, we took off the fancy and suited up into play clothes. She made sure we had a good breakfast, were clean and neat and on time for the morning bell. As I walked to school that first day in September, the new shoes would eat into my ankles as I walked, making my feet hurt a little and the pain although temporary and minor, reminded me that the fun was over, this was work and suddenly, carefree days would be swapped for accountability, responsibility and work!

I can picture that first day in the classroom, as Mrs. Walsh would stand in front of the classroom, with her sensible shoes and modest dress, well coiffed hair and red old lips and explain the rules, hand out the list of books and what they would costs. In Catholic schools, you purchased your books as you did your education and discipline. Yes it was a tough place to catch a break.

Scanning the classroom for the first time, looking at the two Presidents, Washington and Lincoln, the green and white cards that sat over the chalk boards, showing the proper way to form a letter in the alphabet, and finally your eyes resting on the front and center of the classroom, the crucifix of Jesus on the cross, told you the new reality was here. I would then hear the echoes of summer, the imaginary taste of ice cream and mellow roles, the egg cream and the sound of the bouncing rubber ball.

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