School's Out (The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy)

Today is my grandchildren's last day of school before summer vacation. Yesterday was Field Day (96 degrees) and today is a short day of packing up and saying good-bye to teachers. The very thought of it brings back a feeling of joyous freedom. I'm excited for my grandkids.

My grade school sat on a hill and I walked the eight blocks (yes, uphill all the way!) But going home was all downhill and on the last day of school my friends and I would burst out of those heavy, brown doors and fly like birds released from a cage. Do you remember the feeling? 

It's not that I didn't like school, although some years were better than others, but the feeling of release (and sometimes relief) and the anticipation of adventures lying in wait in the summer sun remain vivid after all these years. We didn't do anything particularly exciting but the neighborhood kids went swimming at the frigid local pool; played baseball on the corner; rode bikes to the store for penny candy; chased down the ice cream truck in the afternoon and played hind-and-seek until our mothers called us in at dusk.

My family only took one short vacation to the beach each year. We always went to Yachats on the Oregon coast and stayed in the same old (even back then) motel. Mom would read all day and Dad and I would roam the rocky coastline searching for agates and periwinkles. Then, out for dinner which was a real treat, especially for Mom. Special times.

We all have different memories of childhood. I asked my husband, Rich, what he remembers about summer vacations. He said, "Having to get up at dawn to catch the "berry bus" and then sweat through long afternoons of football practice." Poor boy. I'm sure he enjoyed his share of summer freedom and fun.

Summer days were long and lazy but summer itself flew by. All too soon it was September and off to Sears for a winter coat and new saddle shoes. However, along with the winding down of summer freedom came a new feeling—an itch to buy pencils and pink erasers, notebooks and filler paper, crayons and a new lunch box (I still can't wait to stock up as soon as the supplies hit the stores). I remember the anticipation of seeing old friends and making new ones. Then the nervous trip to the school to check the list of teacher assignments—a lesson on you don't always get what you want! Looking back, I think I may even have desired the return of a bit of structure to my life.

I know my memories are old-fashioned and definitely date me. Summer vacations and heading back to school are so different now from what I experienced. But I'd be willing to wager that for the kids (and us grown-ups) the feelings are pretty much the same.

"The LORD has done great things for us; and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:3

Do you have special "school's out" memories? Share them with your kids or grandkids. I would love to hear them, too.



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