The official start of summer is now less than two weeks away, at least in terms of the date on the calendar. Around here, it’s in full swing already with school being out, vacations being taken, a break from homework and the days getting longer.
We were reminiscing in the Oakdale office the other day, remembering back when we had year-round school. That was when we had too many students enrolled for the schools we had and elementary kids were on a year-round schedule, with a few months on followed by one off. That was the basic idea, there were ‘tracks’ and you just followed your track schedule. It definitely was strange at first but it was something you got used to. And it was nice to not feel like your kids were going to lose a lot of what they had just learned over the long summer because you never had one. You had a month off from time to time, giving everyone a break.
But then Sierra View Elementary was built and Oakdale had four elementary sites, solving the elementary overcrowding issue. We were back to an early August to late May schedule.
Growing up, we started our school year following Labor Day in early September, our first day was usually that Wednesday after the Monday holiday. We also went to class through late June, typically having our final week of school during the week summer began. That made sense to me as a kid; as soon as it turned summer, we were done. Likewise, with Labor Day being the unofficial end of summer, it seemed logical we would go back to school right after.
We made the most of our summers, that’s for sure. Growing up in a rural area, with a couple of cousins right down the road, my brother and I would spend much of our summer with them. Whether we went on a hike down to the creek and enjoyed the day splashing around in the water and building tree forts in the adjoining woods or gathered all the neighborhood kids for a day of baseball or bike riding, we had fun. There were no cell phones, no smart watches. After taking care of whatever chores we had for the day, we told our mom where we were headed and she told us what time to be home. Pure and simple.
My sister and I attended a two-week 4-H camp for a few summers as well and I love how there are just certain sounds and smells that can take you right back to a place and time. They served a very chocolaty hot chocolate sometimes during breakfast and it’s probably the best I ever had; or at least it was when I was 11 years old. And there was just something about earning that ‘Polar Bear’ patch at camp, being one of the few brave enough to get up before the wake-up call at 7 a.m. to go swimming in the camp pool. You had to do that for a majority of the days at camp during the two weeks to earn Polar Bear status and I remember myself and one of my camp friends made sure we did that every year. Man, that water was cold at 6:30 a.m.; it was not a heated indoor pool, we’ll say it that way. But we got those patches.
Summertime ultimately meant a little freedom, new adventures and a chance to explore. A time to vacation with family and enjoy a slower pace that still somehow seemed to go by way too fast.
It’s an axiom I have learned is true; time does fly. Summer will be over sooner than you think – go embrace every day and have some fun.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 209-847-3021.