Friday, May 21, 2010

School's Out ... Let Freedom Ring!

Today is the last day of school for our local district, at least for the students who passed their core courses and their TAKS test.  It was also an early release day.  They got out of school at noon instead of 4 o'clock.  I remembered when I was leaving my neighborhood at about 12:30 and was behind a school bus that was dropping kids off near their homes.

The first thing I thought of was that old Alice Cooper song "School's Out for Summer."
No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher's dirty looks

Out for summer
Out till fall
We might not go back at all

School's out forever
School's out for summer.
My second thought was a line from very sweet poem by Mary Dow Brine "Somebody's Mother" that I've loved since I was a child.  One line of that poem particularly stuck with me:
Down the street with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of school let out...
It paints such a vivid picture of how good it feels to be finished with another school year.  

Watching those kids jump joyfully from the school bus and run down the sidewalk reminded me of that feeling of absolute freedom that I used to feel on the last day of school every year. The thought of three months of hot, luxurious freedom stretched before me ... sleeping late in the mornings ... visiting my Granny ... playing outdoors until dusk ... taking afternoon naps ... chasing fireflies ... counting the stars ... reading books I wanted to read instead of something assigned ... no homework ... afternoons at the pool ... soaking up the sun ... Friday night fish fries ... picnics on the beach ... summer camp ... days and days of nothing particular to do.  I was a child in the 1960's when children were not over-scheduled.  Parents didn't rush from practice to games to lessons with their children.  We had time to be children and summers were magical.

Even though it's been 38 years since I last attended public schools, that feeling is still fresh in my mind.  Nothing has ever matched the feeling of absolute and total freedom that I used to feel on the last day of school every year.  I hope kids still feel that way "Glad in the freedom of school let out" and I hope teachers feel it at least a little bit.

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