Thursday, 26 June 2014

Thursday, or Thereabouts - June 26, 2014

Tomorrow, 7am will be silent.
Tomorrow, no windows will resonate with the rumble of school buses.
Tomorrow the 3pm 'rush hour' convoy of those same buses returning their precious cargo home, will be absent.

The rhythm of my day will be a little disturbed tomorrow, and even more so come Monday, without these time pieces; like the bell and drum towers of ancient China, they signal the opening and closing of day. I'll get over it of course, the sun streaming in my bedroom window will see to that, and come September I'll be disturbed again, this time by the return of the yellow rumblers to my street. Ah, but all this is in the future, tomorrow and beyond.

Today is the Last Day of School!! WOO HOO!
Oh remember the joy of it all?
Ripping the paper off text books, coverings that had been so carefully cut, folded, applied and decorated ten months earlier; triumphantly handing the naked books back to the teacher; clearing out my desk only to discover that crumpled up test stuffed way in the back corner, the one with the big red "D" on it, then tossing the offensive paper in garbage can - no way that was ever coming home; gathering up the standard issue pink workbooks (Pink? What were they thinking??), some of my art work (only some because art was never my forte), a few remaining coloured pencils (a full set of twelve never survived ten months of gruelling work), and last by no means least, my prized possession, a wooden pencil box with a lid that slid open to reveal four bright yellow HB pencils and one slender white pen with blue lettering, "Etobicoke Board of Education". All got stuffed into a bag for homecoming, with one addition - a white envelope containing The Report Card.

I recall that one year, the teacher called each one of us to her desk to receive the envelope. She whispered a comment and the room number for next year's class. I was told, "Well done April. Room eleven." It was a mixed message. I was already in Room 11, in fact I spent grades 4, 5 and 6 in Room 11 - the annual shuffling of rooms and teachers didn't get me anywhere it seemed.

No matter, the last thing on my mind as I dashed out the school doors that day was next year's class. A vast expanse of uninterrupted playtime stretched out before me and September was nowhere to be seen on my radar. Getting up when I wanted, sometimes to just see the sunrise from the lounge chair on the back porch. Riding my bike all over the neighbourhood, sometimes taking longer treks, farther from home just to see how far and how fast I could go. And long afternoons spent in our backyard pool, until with fingers puckered like prunes, I'd drip over to the towels to bake dry out in the sun. Then back in the pool again!

Life was good!

Yep that's me diving in, ca 1969. Mom in the background. How did the ball end up in the air?

Fast forward some 45 years or so, and the last day of school doesn't have quite the same kind of energy.

There is no desk for me to clear out, no text books to return, no wooden pencil case and thankfully no report card! And we don't have a pool in the backyard.

But the strawberries are ripe for the picking and the Canada Day long weekend sits on the doorstep ready to kick off summer with a celebration of all things Canadian. It's not just a single day anymore but three or four days of festivities and fireworks across the country. I am so very fortunate to have the privilege of living in this great land and I am thrilled to be a part of the colourful mosaic that is Canada.

Life IS good!

©2014 April Hoeller

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