Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Last bell of the school year

Is there anything ever that you do at work that compares to that feeling you get when that last bell rings on the last day of school before summer vacation ????

I think not - I remember looking out the window, focus gone all week but then that last period would come and my entire class and I would glance at the clock and out the window, freedom was out there, legs jangling and then there it was the bell... awesomeness. 

Summer vacation when you are in school is just everything that is perfect about childhood.  There is the infinite possibilities of what to do.  In my current area of living this is about day camps and a lot of sleep away camps.   It is organization and obnoxious bills for this pleasure but the kids - well they love it.  It is about play and sports and theater and whatever else they do but it is not about school.  A little about school as there is always summer reading.  

It is perfect and for me as a kid growing up in Queens there was such freedom with this, more so than any suburban kid today.   I could roam, I could play outside until the lights went out and then beg for "5 more minutes" please so we could play tag, with parked cars being base, or Red Rover (ok so this on concrete as an adult seems way more dangerous than I can stomach but as a kid it wasn't a summer without at least one kid going over the clenched hands, whap on sidewalk, blood and the rest of us assessing if could we actually clean it up without having to "tell").  There was the dulcet sounds of Mr. Softee followed by the sounds of running steps, up to our apartments, through doors being yelled at in a variety of languages while we looked for money.   There were stolen kisses in doorways as we got older and walks holding hands.  There were walks - a lot of them to sneak cigarettes or peeks at boys we liked or just because we had nowhere else to be and it was hot so sitting in one spot was not an option.   There was the public pool where you  brought nothing but your towel because you knew you could get it stolen - this sounds bad somehow it just was and there was nothing like the coolness of a public pool after you walked for what seemed like miles to it.   There was the cool rush or running through a hydrant. 

These were days filled with no schedules and games were all on the fly.  There were no parents telling us what to do and when we just knocked on friends' doors and played with one another.   As we got a little older we trekked into the City - aka Manhattan for those non NYC people - and walked more.  We were not the kids of money who took cabs we took subways and we walked.  We walked around the Village and hung out in Washington Square Park.  We walked home to Astoria.   We took multiple trains to get to Rockaway just to complain about broken air conditioning on subway cars and how nasty Rockaway beach was, only to repeat of course.   We dreamt of Jones Beach where we went on weekends with our parents, at the crack of dawn, carrying enough food for a week as we were going to be there all day, walking that Field 4 tunnel and doing the echo.   We got a little older and were frustrated at how no matter what, we never left in time on our own to make it to Field 6 most days because it was the best field for parking to beach proximity.  

No there is nothing better than those short lived summer romances formed on those streets, ended on those streets, romanticized years later far from those streets.   We outran and dodged the old ladies who had free reign to yell at us in various languages and even hit us - for if we told we got yelled at again by our parents for embarrassing them and annoying these old ladies (some were downright evil). We went with each other to beg parents to let us out just a bit longer.  We passed along the message that your parent was yelling out the window for you and you knew you did not want them to come down the block looking for you - that would not end well, shoes would find their targets on the back of the kid who it was intended for.  

We snuck into movies - paying for one and going to 4 or seeing the same one over and over and over, just enough for a small popcorn or a shared soda.   You always had to have at least 1 movie that was G rated to say you went to even though you could not explain your nightmares for having seen the R rated horror flick.   Have you checked the children ??  shivers still. 

There were boom boxes and there was patience - there was no Google so lyrics were sung at the top of our lungs - wrong before we found out it was Not a Hard Egg but Nothing but a Heartache.  There was patience to sit quietly hand poised on Record to make a tape of the song on the radio as that was as close to Spotify as you got - spot on carpet more like it.  

All of that - began with that awesome sound of the last bell of classes.   No there is nothing as adult that compares except for the memories of those lazy, hazy days of summers gone by. 

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