While it may have been a while since I walked the hallways of my old school, a few things have happened in the last few weeks that brought back memories of those days. Maybe it was a smell, like the way old linoleum smells when it has just rained, or maybe it was a bell clanging in the background when I walked these city streets. Whatever was the trigger for those memories, I find myself thinking about them more these days and a few of the regular rituals we indulged in to help us gear up for the start of school each fall.
Summers Last Goodbye
Of course, it may depend on what part of the world you lived in when you went to school, but for me tis was in the northern hemisphere where the autumn days were just beginning when the time came to return to school. In grade school, it was the tug of letting easy play dates go and knowing you would have to return to a schedule that saw you walking to school instead of riding a bike to the closest playground.
As we got older those habits changed but saying goodbye to summer was still always difficult. Even once college began and textbook buyback time came to raise that quick cash for the first school dance, it was still done with a final look backward at all we were going to miss.
Although I was one of those kids who was devouring books before I even started school, it was in school that I began to understand just how magical they could be. I was lucky to have teachers that cared enough to introduce me to authors that have stood the test of time such as Mark Twain and Margaret Atwood and let me explore at my own pace.
School librarians were patient with the kid who couldn’t wait to dive into a new series or pestered them about when the next book on whatever subject I had become enamoured with would be out. That love has never left me, but every time I think of school I remember the joy of finding out about new worlds through the magic of books. I also wonder if kids today, learning through the computer, have somehow lost one kind of magic, or was it simply traded for another one.
Travel, Romance and Learning
Travel has become a bigger part of just about everyone’s lives these days, even if you do it from the comfort of your chair. I am guessing that for many the ability to explore the history and wonder of a country also makes the travel bug that much harder to ignore.
Whether it is travelling to live in a new country or visiting a country with a tour group to hear about it for the first time, school was the first place where I met travellers and understood I could be one of them.
So, while I may not be the one walking into that school classroom anymore, that doesn’t mean that I have forgotten the things I learned while I was there. That may be the best lesson I took from school of all.