Thursday, June 7, 2007

Last Days

Today being our official last day of school for the 2006/2007 school year, I can’t help but think of all “the last day” memories I have of my own school days. I recall those last days with quite a bit of fondness, and excitement – looking forward to summer.

Cleaning out my desk and either throwing stuff away or putting all my junk into a paper sack brought from home that day. (Remember paper sacks? Remember using them to make your own book covers for your text books, and then writing the title of the book on the cover in your best artistic handwriting?)
How about a nice Hawaiian Punch?
Having “Last Day” parties where someone’s mom always made cupcakes, someone else’s mom always made peanut butter cookies (back in the day where you could send PB cookies to school and not face a lawsuit), and someone else’s mom always brought Hawaiian Punch. Was it just me, or did anyone else think this poor guy in the Hawaiian shirt was related somehow to Mr. Magoo? Road Hog!

Was it also just me, or was anyone else ever confused to no end, due to reruns and programming - on how in the world Mr. Magoo could even be Mr. Magoo and Thurston Howell the Third, all at the same time?

Granted, I was not the sharpest kid around, but this stuff really bugged me. I was also the kid who thought JP Patches lived in an airplane. JP Patches, for those of you that didn't grow up anywhere near Seattle, was a children's morning show host dressed up like a clown. He was supposed to have lived in a shack at the city dump (not sure why that was supposed to be funny, but whatever) and when the dump trucks would come in to unload, his shack would shake and he'd pretend to fall down. For some demented reason, I was convinced he was in an airplane and that was turbulance. So... to the great shame and public humiliation of my poor older brother, every time we were outside and a plane would fly overhead, I would shout out "Hi JP Patches!!!" then jump up and down waving my arms, as if he could see me from way up there. I think my brother told his friends I was mentally handicapped (although I'm pretty sure that's not the word he used). The thing is, kids just think funny things. Like my son Samuel, age 6, who is convinced that there are Canadian Bees and American Bees. American Bees are much bigger, he tells us. I suppose of you look closely, Canadian Bees are probably carrying wee little hockey sticks.

I digresseth...

Growing up in the Puget Sound of WA, that first week of June was always a toss up as far as weather goes. Some last days I can recall it being hot already, and kids had been coming to school in shorts for a couple of weeks by then. Still other times it was cool and cloudy, or pouring down rain. Remember carrying paper sacks home when it was raining outside? The best strategy was usually stuffing the bag inside your coat, but in June you probably weren't wearing a coat, so by the time you got home it was more or less paper shred, instead of paper sack.

For some reason, one of the most memorable "last days" for me was the last day of 7th grade. We were sharing the school with the 8th graders and both classes were on a split shift. 8th graders went from 6am to 11:30am and 7th graders went from noon to 5:30pm. The reason we had to do that in my small town, was because someone burned down the junior high on the west side of town, so we all had to share one building on the east side of town. On that last day though, we all went to school at the same time, and were only there for a couple of hours to clean out our lockers, pick up our report cards & then the busses showed up to get us out of there!

It was a strange day for me since we were already out of school at the time we'd normally just be starting school. I went with a few friends to another friends house, and it was pouring down rain so hard we all looked like drowned rats by the time we got there. I'm pretty sure we didn't do anything memorable, because I don't recall anything else about that day, except for that. I'm not even sure why I remember that day, but for some strange reason, I do.

In grade school it was always an exciting time because my best friend Terry's birthday was June 8th. When she moved away and as I went to Jr and Sr high, I always wondered what Terry was doing for her birthday. I thought of her yesterday as well and wondered where she is now, and what she'll be doing for her birthday.

Today being our last day, it's supposed to be sunny with a hight of 84 degrees. That's 84 American degrees (I don't do celcius very well). If that were 84 Canadian degrees, I suspect FOX and CNN would be swamped with viewers for such a record setting phenom. It felt more like 84c while I cleaned and filled the pool after school today.

I mentioned yesterday that we're having our "Last Day" party tomorrow. It might sound corny and retro and all that, but I like to go back and pull out all the cool stuff I remember from my childhood that made my "last day" parties at school, so enjoyable for me - and then give that to them. Childhood should be filled with fond memories, and I try hard to make sure theirs is. Someone's mom is making cupcakes (with sprinkles, because sprinkles rock, to a child), and even though I couldn't find Hawaiian Punch (and I looked!) we do have some fancy dan juice, too.

Weather permitting, we'll even have the party on the deck. Right now they're talking about 91 degrees with a combo t-storms, sun, and winds of 40mph. Hopefully that'll all wait until afternoon when the party is over.

I didn't tell them, but I'm swinging by the dollar store this afternoon for a big ole bag of balloons, too.

Balloons always make for good childhood memories. Even if you already left childhood.