Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

05 September 2010

End of Summer

Much like the other Gals who grew up in the country, the end of summer was triggered by Labor Day; the day after meant school.

My elementary grades - six through eight - were spent in a two-room school in Stone Bank, Wisconsin. Seven of us - three girls, four big, strapping farm boys - graduated in June of 1950, and entered Oconomowoc High School on Tuesday, September 5 1950.

A sadness accompanied my lone trek up Moose Lake Road that day to the spot where I would be picked up by the always-yellow school bus that would take me to High School - which was only 4.5 miles by car, but around 40 miles by school bus (the winding rural route from farm to farm and small town to bitty town went made it that long. My sister Carol was a grade behind me and I was the only Freshman living on our side of the lake, so it was just me and my fears that day.

For three years I'd cheerfully ridden my blue Schwinn around the lake to the red brick school - except in winter when we walked around, unless a kindly neighbor took pity on us and gave us a ride on those days when the thermometer plummeted to zero, or almost to that small degree. My sister Carol and I were forbidden to walk across the frozen water which was often covered by snow except for those paths we'd shoveled from our houses to the rink we'd cleared in the middle of the lake for skating. For some reason known only to her, Mom was okay that we skated to the middle on the weekends for fun, but walking across it to school was always equated with the ice magically parting and swallowing us, even though it would've been a considerably shorter tromp.

Now I had to trudge to the bus stop because our house wasn't the required one mile from house to stop; it was only three-quarters of a mile. Not far when the weather was mild and wonderful in autumn - blue skies, brown and yellow oak leaves falling, temps hanging round the 60s, and wearing a light-weight green poplin jacket. But when hindered by a heavy winter coat that covered sweaters which covered blouses and woolen skirts, and snow boots which covered white and black saddle shoes, and arms filled with books and binders (no back packs then, Jill), and a scarf covering my head (and nose and mouth when the temp was brutal) that three-quarters of a mile may as well have been ten miles.

And now, on September 5, 1950, not only had my mode of transportation changed but my world that up til now had been safe and secure was turning suddenly scary-exciting and was full of unknowns - people, places and things.

Sixty years to the day later, I'd give anything to return to that yesterday, facing the unknown - people, places and things - scared, yet excited at what was to come. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat, for now I know that it's okay to be scared and excited because for the most part, people, places and things aren't as scary as I once thought but definitely, can be exciting.

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