Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Last Day of School

1981...nice suit, huh?
Strangely enough, I can remember the last day of school in almost every grade from Kindergarten on.  I can tell you what I was wearing, (Kindergarten-green jeans. What?  It was 1980) who I was with, and without a shred of doubt, where I was headed to next.

After the last bell rang, and the book bag filled with shriveled school supplies was stuffed underneath my bed where it would remain until September, the most hallowed of clothing was donned:  the swimsuit.  Onto the bikes we jumped, towels wrapped once around our necks, our pockets filled with change to grab a snack at Hamburger Corner before the pool opened at one o'clock.

We spent all afternoon in the pool.  At 4h30, the lifeguards blew the whistles that they swung so coolly all afternoon in their white tee shirts and Ray-Bans. We scurried out of the pool, rode home for a quick dinner then rode back for 'night swim' which began at 7 p.m.  At nine the guards blew their whistles again, and home we went, waterlogged but happy and ready to return the next day.

I was the master of the pool.  I was Neptune, Poseidon (I know the difference now) and the Little Mermaid before she was even a spark in the Disney consciousness.  I was a dolphin (thus the dives) and an Olympic gymnast (seriously, I can hold a handstand for like, ever...or until I run out of breath.)

Underwater all was quiet.
Underwater all was possible.

Just me and the water--and the other million kids at the pool.

All summer it was the same: Wake, swim, eat, swim, bed.  Over and over, but that first day, the day we shed the chains of the Man, that was the sweetest day of the year.

How did you celebrate the last day of school?


  1. Oh, that was lovely. Beautifully written ... like a sigh.
    For me the last day of school meant rushing home and jumping into the car, which was packed to the rafters with summer stuff. Mom had packed egg salad sandwiches and cokes for two and a half hour drive to our cottage. It was the most glorious ride of the year - knowing we had two full months of nothing but swimming (!), waterskiing, canoeing, hiking and generally just goofing around. Those were certainly the days... I was so lucky and I never realized it. And yes, like you, I did most of that stuff in a bathing suit.

  2. Cathy, that sounds like a GLORIOUS childhood summer!! I try to make it the same for my own kids now...but they just aren't as hard core as I am about swimming...:)