August 22, 2002

Back to School

Back to school, back to school,
to prove to Dad that I’m no fool
I got my lunch box packed, my shoes tied tight.
I hope I don’t get in a fight.

Those are the immortal words of Adam Sandler’s character in the movie classic, “Billy Madison.” I sing that little ditty, along with the rest of my crazed family members, many times during the year, but it is in August that its depth of the lyric comes to light.

The season of “back to school” is upon us. I remember the last few weeks of August as ones of great anticipation. I would be getting a new pair of school shoes (as opposed to play shoes.) They would be whatever hard, dark leather shoe was in style. Or at least I hoped that my parents would spring for what was in style.

I was looking forward to seeing my classmates again. The summer had meant great freedom, but freedom to be alone got old. I missed my friends and I longed to run with them at recess.

Even the idea of learning new things was intriguing. I knew that in fourth grade I would be facing the treacherous long division. And in fifth dreaded fractions would come into my life. Every year my love of learning would last only about two days, but by the end of the next summer I would forget all that and look forward to all that the teacher would impart.

I calculate that I have had twenty years of back to school. So the feeling of newness, of anticipation, of possibility at this time of year is firmly ingrained in me. When Labor Day rolls around I am ready to go. It is the beginning of my new year. The cool weather is beginning and I am energized.