One of the hardest things for adults to adjust to is that there are no longer any “last days of school.”
Even those who have gone back to school to pursue an advanced degree miss out on the last day of school phenomenon. There is absolutely nothing better than the last day of school. The Peter Pan in all of us, longs for that feeling of freedom and late morning sleep-ins.
I can remember sitting in a classroom in Blessed Sacrament as we approached Memorial Day. Remember, back then Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30th. It didn’t matter if it created a long weekend for us. So, Memorial Day ushered in summer because it ushered in June. June was just around the corner and that extra day of May was more like Summer’s Eve despite the fact that the official start of summer was three weeks away.
When June 1st arrived, I was in Summer Heaven.
You could see it in the faces of the teachers and Nuns. They had that thousand-yard stare indicating they were as done as we were. They wanted summer to begin just as much as we did.
My most vivid memory of school in June was thirst. There was no bottled water back then. In fact, the only mobile water containers we had were our trusty water guns, but you didn’t dare bring those to school. I can still see myself sitting in the row next to the window and a bookcase with a vase full of water perched on its top shelf.
I would hallucinate just thinking of that water and how good that flower must feel. You know you are having a bad day when you are jealous of a flower. Every now and then we would be allowed to get a drink from the water fountain, but most times we just sat and suffered.
But it was June, and I knew I wouldn’t be stuck inside a classroom for long.
Eventually, the school day ended, and we all went home and quickly changed into our play clothes and set out to play baseball, softball, curb ball, or triangle. It didn’t matter what kind of ball we played, we just played ball. We may have interrupted our game for dinner but, because the days were longer, we were allowed to continue until it got dark. But then we went home and attempted a little homework and got ready for a new day of school.
But, it was June, and school’s days were numbered.
Finally, the big day arrived. It was always a half day because, why not? We hadn’t done any real work for a week now, why don’t we just all acknowledge that we are done and set off on our summer vacation?
The kids who went to public school had another tradition to mark the beginning of summer. They threw their sneakers over the telephone and electric wires that crisscrossed our streets. I never understood this. After all, it would be a long time before I would ever wear shoes again and I needed my sneakers. It takes all kinds, I used to think.
In addition to being thirsty, another strong memory of mine is the music that was played on the radio. I can still get happy just hearing some of these summer songs. This appreciation of summer music would continue even into my college years and beyond. Well, I am really in the beyond category as I approach my next birthday, but I still love my summer music. I love it so much I have created a Summer Playlist on my iPhone, and I will share it with you now. They are listed in no particular order, and I usually listen to it in the shuffle mode. Here they are:
Summertime Summertime The Jamies
All I Really Want To Do The Byrds
The Bells of Rhymney
Chimes of Freedom
My Back Pages
It Won’t Be Wrong
She Don’t Care About Time
Wasn’t Born To Follow
You Won’t Have To Cry As you can see I like the Byrds
Badlands The Boss
Bus Stop The Hollies
The Girl From Ipanema Getz/Gilberto
Had To Cry Today Blind Faith
HOT HOT HOT Buster Poindexter
I’d Love To Change The World Ten Years After
In The Summertime Mungo Jerry
In The Year 2525 Zager and Evans (Oh, that takes you back, doesn’t it?)
It’s My Life The Animals
San Franciscan Nights
We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place
Jamming Bob Marley and The Wailers
No Woman No Cry
Waiting In Vain
Kokomo The Beach Boys
The Rain In The Park The Cowsills
Saturday In The Park Chicago (also appears on my Yankee Stadium list)
Sing This All Together The Stones
Summer In The City The Lovin’ Spoonful
Summer WAR (You may have missed this, but it is a great song.)
A Whiter Shade of Pale Procol Harem
What A Little Bit of Love Can Do Jeff Bridges (Yes, that Jeff Bridges)
Waiting In Vain Jimmy Buffet
King of Somewhere Hot
Weather With You
Good Morning Starshine Oliver
Hot Fun In The Summertime
American Woman The Guess Who
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? Chicago
Everybody’s Talking Nilsson
My Cherie Amour Stevie
Summer Wind Frank
The Boys of Summer Don Henley
A Whiter Shade of Pale Procol Harem
A Salty Dog
1865 (96 Degrees In The Shade) Third World
I am sure I will be adding to this list.
Ndakuvara Oliver (Tuku) Miyukudzi Seriously, check iTunes
Let me know some of your suggestions.
Happy June everybody!