School has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s the last week of the school year for my two daughters, and the structure that has shaped our lives since last fall is about to take a hiatus. A long summer break is in store, and the new posts on this blog will slow to a trickle, if they don’t grind to a complete halt. But I’ll come back to this one day in the future.
I was on my way out of a year-end dance recital recently when I spotted a penny in the parking lot. As is my custom, I picked it up and looked at the date. It was 1973, which I remember bits and pieces of, at best. But my life changed for the better in that year, and school was the reason why. I started kindergarten that year, and life was never again the same for me.
Before I turned five, life consisted of me, my brother, my sister, my mom and dad, and my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. In other words, nobody that I wasn’t related to by blood or marriage. But the day that I started morning kindergarten, I learned there were other kids out there, and they were fun to be around, too. I had never heard the word “socialization” before, but that’s what was going on. And I enjoyed it quite a bit.
I stumbled upon a picture of myself from 1973 a few years ago, and the arrival of Facebook has afforded me an opportunity to share this image with whoever wants to see it. I have this sort of mischievous look in my eyes, like I think I’m getting away with something. And every pair of ugly plaid pants that I wore back then probably had at least one knee patched up. And the shoes? The less I say about them, the better.
A lot changed for me in the year that the recently-found penny was shiny and new. And as my children make their own way through school, I hope they’ll look back on this time as fondly as I do on my own youth.