While fall is my favorite time of year, it is a bit sad to have to say goodbye to summer... ours are far too short.  Many fond memories come to mind as the days become shorter and cooler but perhaps none are as outstanding as those having to do with going back to school.  For many of us, our oldest memories may be associated with events or situations having to do with early school experiences.

My earliest memories of school were in Mrs. Munn’s 1st grade class at Gardener School.  The large windows on the right side of the classroom had these heavy vinyl shades with a green floral print.  I can remember now how ugly they were!  I had to wear glasses to see the chalk board and this was traumatic for me, but Mrs. Munn helped me get through it.  I remember, on the first day, waiting in line to get weighed and measured.  I was the heaviest in the class at 63 pounds... ugh! 

Mom made us home-made bookbags with a drawstring.  Mine was a white and red checked print that could have made an excellent Italian table cloth.  I had home-made clothes as well.  My Mom was into stretch and sew at the time... those were the itchiest shirts ever!  Of course, we took the requisite pictures at the bus stop... squinting as we looked into the bright morning sun.  My new, husky sized jeans were stiff as cardboard and made a loud scuffing sound when I walked. 

Getting home was great!  Mom waited to hear how our day was and what we did... so exciting!  We told the stories all over again around the dinner table when Dad got home... those were good days.

As I grew older there were different memories... worrying about remembering a locker combination, switching classrooms, will my friends be in any of my classes?  The favorite time of the day never changed... it was always best getting home.

As a parent, you re-live these memories through the eyes of your children.  You feel their nervousness... will my teacher be nice?  New clothes were better for my kids (and more fashionable) than they were for me and there were no home-ade book bags either.  There were still the mandatory pictures at the bus stop and, for my wife, there were tears as the bus pulled away from the drive. 

The best part of the day was still when the kids got home excited to share their day, their experiences and accomplishments.  When I got home, after work, I heard the stories again around the dinner table.

Before too long, I will be a grandparent and I wonder what will change and what will remain the same when they are going to school.  I bet there will still be new clothes... and that they will not be made at home!  I expect there will be pictures and tears at the bus stop as well as many, many stories at the end of the school day.  Mostly I hope that my grandchildren will tell those stories again around the dinner table because now that I think of it... that may not have been the most memorable of times, but may have been the most important. 

Now go outside and have fun in the dirt!