When I was a kid, my favorite day of the year, after Christmas and my birthday for the obvious reasons, was the day we got out of school for the summer.
I grew up in a small town in northern California named Pleasanton. Back then we had about 5,000 people in town.
You kind of knew everyone.
The official start of summer was marked by donning your Speedo underneath a pair of cutoffs and heading out on your bike for three months of play.
If I remember right, you didn’t change that outfit, ever, unless your mother made you. Your daily bath became just a dip in the pool.
And sunblock – what sunblock?
Back then a typical day was an afternoon at the local high school pool, or heading to a field to play baseball with the buddies.
If we were in an adventurous mood, we’d head to the local gravel pits, just out of town, to jump off the cliffs into the lakes below, trying to avoid being rounded up by the local cops, or we’d climb one of the big oak trees around town and building a tree fort.
At night we seemed all consumed with the games of kick-the-can or hide-and-go-seek. As we got older, we added in ice-blocking down the hills at the local country club.
Life seemed so simple then.
There were no worries about the predators that parents today have to deal with. There were no gangs or guns. Our biggest worry was running into a local group of bullies – you know, the type that greased their hair back, wore blue jeans and a white t-shirt with those pointed-toed-black shoes – and trying not to get beat up.
But, all in all, life in those days was good.
However, I do remember that year after year those three months of summer and fun seemed to whiz by.
As quickly as school was out, it soon became July, and then July became August.
And then, IT would happen. September. And another school year would be on us. Books, papers, tests and homework.
I get nervous today just thinking about it.
I remember about a week prior to the school year’s start we’d head down on our bikes to see whose class we were in. The lists were posted on the doors of the classrooms.
In the end, it didn’t really matter who the teacher was, what mattered were what friends were in class with you.
You can probably tell, I wasn’t the school’s valedictorian.
And as that last week would tick by, I’d try to think ahead to good things, like Thanksgiving and four days off, Christmas and Easter vacations.
So now, as this last week of summer, before school arrives yet again, I empathize with our kids.
But, in reality, I also long for just one more summer, a bike, a Speedo and a pair of cutoffs, with three months of nothing but kick-the-can and a dip in the pool.