August 20, 2001


August, the eighth month of the year in the Gregorian calendar. Did you know that it was originally the sixth month in the Roman year, which began with March, and was originally named Sextilis (from Latin sextus, “sixth”)? So if things had not been shuffled, then August probably now would be called the month of Sex. That certainly would have changed things!

It was given its present name in honor of the emperor Augustus. To make it equal to the fifth month, the name of which had been changed from Quintilis to Julius in honor of Julius Caesar, a day was taken from the month of February and added to August. So that means that before the name change leap year would have had February 30. It would have been great to be born on February 30.

Do you think that Roman school kids had to start worrying about going back to school in the month of Augustus? Did they worry about how they would do at roman numerals? Did they hate Latin as much as later generations did? Did they take aqueducts for granted? What kind of really old stuff did they study for history? These are important questions.

What kind of songs did they sing when they were getting ready to return to school? In the classic movie “Billy Madison,” the great modern day philosopher/songwriter Adam Sandler gave us this anthem: “ Back to school, back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m no fool. I’ve got my lunch box packed, my shoes tied tight. I hope I don’t get in a fight.”

Which brings us to September (the same in English or Latin) – the month that follows August and the time of our next Gathering. You will not have to pack a lunch to be there, but bring a little food if you can. And you will not have anything to prove to Dad or anyone else. Just come as you are. And hopefully there will be no fights. See you there.