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Lifelines

First Day of School

Kathy Werner
Posted 9/10/21

A new school year has begun. When I was a student, the first day of school meant freshly sharpened pencils, a new 3-ring binder, a pile of new notebooks, and so many beginnings. There were reunions …

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Lifelines

First Day of School

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A new school year has begun. When I was a student, the first day of school meant freshly sharpened pencils, a new 3-ring binder, a pile of new notebooks, and so many beginnings. There were reunions with friends I hadn’t seen for two months. Seats were assigned, books were handed out, and notes were taken. I loved it all.

Of course, prior to this first day, we had to get our all-important back-to-school outfits.

Getting us five kids ready for school was a project that kept Mom busy. She and Grandma Kohler would take us down to the Robert Hall store in Middletown to do our school shopping at the end of August, and we each would pick out a “fall” outfit totally unsuited for those warm days of early September.

We girls would be decked out in scratchy wool skirts with matching knee socks while the temperature hit the low 80’s. But hey, we were in our new back-to-school outfits, so we didn’t dare complain. The first day of school was exciting and happy.

After I became a teacher, the first day of school brought a completely different set of emotions. Not exactly dread, but there were many nights of anxiety dreams in the weeks leading up to the start of classes. Usually, these dreams would be about a class that I could not get under control, or a series of delays that meant I couldn’t get to school on time. Great stuff.

These dreams usually stopped after I had been back teaching for about a week or so, when I got back into the groove of teaching once again.

When I became a mom, the first day of school was a cause for celebration. After the kids boarded the bus (these were the days before I headed back to the work force), the first day of school meant a chance to sit down and have a second cup of coffee and take a breath. It also meant making sure I had cider, cheese, and crackers on hand for the afternoon snack and debrief. “Who is in your class this year?” “What did you do today?” “How did it go?” 

Now as a retired teacher, the first day of school no longer causes me stress. It is just another day, albeit one in which I can enjoy the sight of the boys and girls in their new outfits waiting for the bus as I walk my doggies around the block. Moms and grandmas wait with them, taking photos as they climb up the stairs into the big yellow bus and give a wave.

It all goes by so quickly. Just a moment ago, I was that little girl getting on that big bus.

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