My First Day of Summer Vacation!
When we were kids, there was usually nothing better than summer vacation. Now summer still gets me excited, I’m a fan of the beach and warm weather, but it doesn’t compare to how it was for me as a kid.
I was trying to figure out what years I should pull from for this blog. I went to Catholic school growing up, then public school in middle school and beyond. I can remember the last week at Catholic school was a complete wash, which I was okay with. There was a “field day” which was all of us in our gym clothes outside playing various games. This is probably when they fumigated the school. We’d then spend the next days doing slave labor janitorial work. We were required to bring in S.O.S or Brillo pads from home to help scrub down our desks and chairs. This became class warfare in the 5th grade. I’d always have plain old blue ones, along with most of the kids, but the popular kids always seemed to have special pink or yellow ones. I was so envious of those lucky bastards and their endless supply of colorful cleaning steel, while I was stuck with a nub left of my upper-lower-middle class blue brillo pad.
The last day of school was always a joke, you go in for what seems like 7 hours, but is actually 20 minutes. Enough time for the school to actually count it as a school day, then they send your ass home. I don’t know who’s more excited to get out, the teachers or the students. Then it happens, SUMMER VACATION actually begins.
The problem is that it’s a random Tuesday or Wednesday in June at 11am. Now when I was in high school and had a friend or two, that meant driving away, listening to loud music in someone’s car and going to “hang out” somewhere. In an era before iphones, I don’t know how we survived. We would spend most of the summer doing just that, hanging out. It all seems so dull thinking about it now, so let’s rewind back to 5th grade. To a time when social status was determined by the color of the soap on your cleaning steel wool pad.
We’d get off the bus on, and at 11am, mid-June, the temperature on the northeast is roughly the same as the surface of the sun. It didn’t matter though, we were FREE. No more bookbags, and shirts and ties (Catholic school) till September. From here on out, we only woke up early on Saturdays to watch cartoons. The weeks were ours! Both our parents worked, so we were entrusted in the care of my older brother. The future held tons of day time TV, Nickelodeon in the mornings, a freezer full of micro-magic for lunch, and all the Sunny-D a kid could drink.
My best friend down the street had an above ground swimming pool, and there is a good chance that was where we wound up on that first day. Cannonballs, and pretending we were Ninja Turtles swimming through the sewers, building an appetite for possible pizza in our future. As soon as we had enough of the pool we would wrap a towel around us and run out onto the hot street to warm ourselves, and maybe pop bubbles on the patch tar. That’s where my neighbor’s basketball hoop was, so a game of horse wasn’t out of the question.
We were too far from dinner and possible pizza or even better McDonald’s happy meals, but we needed something of substance to get us there, so a walk or bike trip to the closest gas station mini mart was next on the schedule which meant we both had to go hit up our parents for a little spending cash. I’m writing blogs every day this summer, so the nuances of picking out the right snack at the mini-mart will be discussed in an upcoming blog.
The junk food binge would commence and we’d burn off the calories on my swing set, then as the sun was beginning to be at its hottest, we’d hang in his basement while we played Sega genesis and read comic books, discussing what we needed to pick up at the comic book shop.
The best part about this was the day was ours, and everyday was a weekend. So of course we’d try and weasel a sleepover that first night. It would be at my house, so we’d gather all of our action figures, downstairs, and settle in for a Super-Nintendo/Batman ’66 marathon, waiting for the pizza to arrive. Then, inexplicably at 10pm, we’d feel the need to go outside and play again. There was no controlling us, we were wild animals, free from our confines. We needed no sleep, and we’re fueled by pizza grease and the desire to watch Dave Letterman, even though we didn’t get a single joke or know a single guest. It was simply for the fact that we could. The general rule was as long as we didn’t wake our parents, there was no bed time.
It was the start of what would be the most glorious two months of our lives up until that point. Summer vacation had begun.
That's all for today! Make sure to check back tomorrow for a new entry!