No more pencils no more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks yeah.
Well we got no class
And we got no principals
And we got no innocence.
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes.
School’s out for summer.
School’s out forever. – Alice Cooper
When I was a kid (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth), our school year started the week following Labor Day. Come the Friday before Memorial Day, we were saying goodbye to our teachers and bidding our friends a tearful farewell, despite the fact that we would probably see them in a day or two. After all, most lived right in our ‘hood.
Nowadays, I can’t keep track of when anyone is starting school or getting out for the summer. There’s year-round school, modified year-round school, and super-duper modified year-round school with a cherry on top. (I made that one up.) There’s Teacher Planning Days and spring breaks and fall breaks and student non-contact days. Of course, there are also the unanticipated (but much-loved by teachers and students alike) snow days. You need a graphing calculator to figure out when Junior will be done with third grade.
I never liked school. I was a good-enough student and I always did my homework. I studied for tests and generally got passing grades. (We’ll just forget about college Geology 101. Suffice it to say all rocks looked the same to me then, and still do.) I went to college long enough to eventually earn a Master’s degree. All the while, however, I disliked school.
For the most part, I think all of my grands like school. Some years are better than others, what with various teachers and which friends remained in your class. I’m very happy about that. But even when you like school, you can’t help but be excited about the prospect of a couple of months of freedom. A couple of weeks ago, 12-year-old Dagny told me happily, “Nana, I only have two more Mondays before school is out.” Apparently Mondays are the worse day for this pre-teen, and probably many others.
Despite the fact that it has been a good 40 years since I attended school, I can remember as though it was last week just the way it feels on that last day of school. Or should I call it that first day of summer vacation. Because it feels like it’s going to last forever.
Frankly, I feel about the same way as my grands. I am excited to see school coming to an end because I want to spend plenty of time with them. Swim meets and dive meets. Cook-outs and lunchtime sushi. Movies and visits to the zoo. I hope we do lots of geocaching and get lots of pedicures and bake lots of cookies. I will happily clean up slime and wash off chalk cities drawn on our backyard patio after they leave to go back to their moms and dads.
So, while Alice Cooper’s famous song School’s Out takes a couple dark turns in its lyrics, I simply glom onto the ones that stick in my mind: School’s out for summer!