As a kid, were you happy or anxious about going back to school? Now that you’re older, how has your attitude toward the end of the summer evolved?
I loved school. I loved summer. By the time Labor Day rolled around (we always started school the day after Labor Day, back in the olden time) I was ready and eager. I love fall. It’s probably my favorite season, and I especially love it here in my corner of PA. But I grew up in southern Minnesota, so fall came with a strong undertone of winter. It was always exciting, because so many wonderful things happened in fall and winter.
But back tgo school. It held no terror for me. I loved finding my new classroom, meeting my new teacher, setting up my notebook as I progressed through the grades. The brand new paper, the new pens/pencils, were all an invitation to me to come learn something new. I enjoyed the physical process of writing. I remember being so excited, in third grade, to learn cursive writing so I could write like the grown-ups. I understand they’re not bothering too much with that these days. That’s a shame. It should NOT become a lost art!
Getting all my new textbooks was a thrill for me. I could hardly wait to page through them to get a hint of where we’d be going, what journeys be’d be taking that year. The only courses I wasn’t excited about were maths. I’ve just lately learned that there is a name for the problem that ailed me and still does: dyscalcula. It’s like dyslexia, only with numbers instead of words. I’d see “38” and write “83.” Pretty hard to get your long division to come out right when that happens. But —I actually got through all that pretty well, and I really did enjoy algebra and geometry. I even liked biology, in spite of cutting up pickled animals.
My real loves, though, were English, writing, reading, history, and anything else that was mostly word-related. Words are like brain candy. I love even now learning the etymology of words. They are endlessly fascinating. For example, my DH had the shingles a couple of years ago and still suffers after-effects. My then-8-year-old grandson asked my why it was called shingles. Well, I’ve always wondered, and for him I took the time to look it up. Here’s the answer I found:
Shingles derived from the Latin cingulus, which was a wide belt worn around the waist for carrying weapons, for protection and for general utility. The shingles rash typically starts at the waisteline from the middle of the back and circles around like a belt. Not always, but that’s the most typical pattern. Therefore, shingles/cingulus. Cool. Now I get it!
I was a teacher for many years, still loving the classroom and the sharing of knowledge. Never dreaded the school year, but always looked forward to summer vacation. Now? I just work the same, all year ’round, and the changing of the seasons no longer marks the end or beginning of the school year. Kids all grown, no one to get ready for the school year. Do I miss all that? Nope. I’m very content with my life as it is right now.