Thursday, May 27, 2021

Memories of the last day of school

Yesterday was the last day of school for my son Jack. Our two current college undergrads, Jared and Melanie, finished earlier this month, but Jack and his high school classmates took their final exams this week.

When I was young, school went all the way into mid-June. Of course, it didn't start until after Labor Day, so it worked out. But I liked it when, by the time I got to high school, they had shifted the school year to start and finish earlier.

No matter what the date, though, there was something magical about that last day. In elementary school, it meant a picnic or party of some sort.

In second grade, for example, our class went to what was then known as Twin Lakes Park in Wickliffe (now Orlando Park) for last-day festivities. I was wearing jeans and it was hot, but I was anxious to play softball with the other kids, so I wolfed down my lunch and ran over to the ball field.

The combination of the heat and my overly zealous approach to lunch made me feel nauseous as I stood in the dirt infield with my glove on and the sun beating down. I promptly threw up all over second base, after which I felt perfectly fine, but the moment caused Vince Boyce to say (with extreme calm and matter-of-factness), "Time out. Scott barfed."

The end of the school year was a time to get your final report card, clean out your desk, and get ready for 11 1/2 weeks of glorious summer vacation.

Jack is doing all of that this week, through he doesn't have a desk to clean out. And his summer, while sure to be glorious, will include frequent shifts working at Chick-Fil-A and almost-daily training runs to get ready for the fast-approaching cross country season.

Once I entered the full-time workforce, what I missed most was not necessarily the long summer break (though that would be nice to have), but rather the giddy anticipation of it.

Enjoy it, kids. Like many things in life, you won't know how great that last day of school is until you don't have it anymore,

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