School’s Out for Summer!

With apologies to Alice Cooper, it’s been more years than I care to remember since I was in school. But, I can still remember the exhilaration of the final day of the school year and what it meant as a youngster. The last official school day of the year here in Mobile County was last Friday. Thousands of kids jumped for joy. Truth be known, quite a few teachers also were relieved for the school year to finally be over.

Who can forget knowing how great it felt as an eight, ten or twelve year old leaving school for the last day of the year! I can remember the anticipation I felt knowing I had three whole summer months to do as I wish. Most days, I could sleep as long as I wanted to. But, that never lasted but maybe a couple of weeks. Then it was up to do whatever chores I needed to do in the morning before I headed out into the joy of summertime.

We lived in a lot of different places due to my father’s nomadic search for the job at the end of the rainbow. So, there were a few places I could talk about in regard to my summers between school years. The one I am thinking about right now was in a place called Satsuma, Alabama. Back in those days, Satsuma would have been in awe of Andy Griffith’s “Mayberry.” It’s grown somewhat now. But, not a whole lot. During the summers in Satsuma, I played on the junior league baseball team. I was a very good left fielder, thank you very much! Unfortunately, I never met a curve ball I could hit. Therefore I was delegated to spot duty, mostly inserted into left field to protect a one run lead. Then there was Reynolds Pier. For one thin dime, you could swim there all day long! And my siblings and I would take them up on that. There was no lifeguard present and there was a sign that said “Swim at your own risk.” We never let Mama know about that. If we had, we’d never been allowed there. But, there were always lots of adults there. So, we felt safe. After a day of swimming, we’d go to the Gator Shack, named in honor of the Satsuma High School Gators. Their hamburgers were dreadful. But, those soft ice cream cones were to die for in the heat of summer.

There was always the railroad tracks to keep us busy. In scenes reminiscent of the movie, “Stand By Me,” we would follow the railroad tracks as far to the end of town. We would always run across the trestle. If we had gotten caught by the numerous speeding trains through that area, I probably wouldn’t be here writing an entry into this blog. I had great friends back in those days. When you were twelve, it seemed as if your friends would be with you for life. You may argue or even get into a fight or two. But, you always enjoyed your time with them. I will always wonder whatever happened to Archie, Mike, Gerald and many more that the years have made me forget. And that hurts sometimes.

When the school year began again in September (usually around my birthday on the 6th), it was a sadness that the fun and summer was gone for the year. Apprehension about new teachers, new courses and, hopefully for most, a new grade up the ladder to graduation. I envy the kids somewhat getting out of school right now. I know they are excited. And I don’t blame them one bit.


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Howdy David, You youth sounds like it was a lot of fun. I grew up in a small town also. We had the "Burro Bar" which was the ice cream stand named after our schools mascot. The South Park Burro's, Yes there really is a South Park, in Colorado. Our town was a one street wonder, it really had more than one street, but most people only saw the main street as they sped through town. There was one Sheriff and a part time Marshal. Every one knew everyone else, and our parents knew what we did before we got home. We didn't have a railroad track, but we did have lots and lots of forest service areas and local ranches. Our time was spent exploring and doing just about anything we could get away with. We also spent allot of time with the ranchers, helping them with all the chores of the ranch, we thought it was fun, not work.

Those were the days, were they not?

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eirc, I miss the small town atmosphere. I just have always been a small town kinda guy. I now live in a city that is ready to join the "super-cities" in the south like Atlanta, Houston and so on. This town is getting too big for this Mayberry kind of guy. Never been to Colorado. But, it sounded familiar, very familiar to my childhood. I won't comment on the South Park aspect. :) Thanks for stopping by.

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