Oh, I Did Not Like Labor Day When I Was Growing Up!
I grew up on the East Coast, and school would start the Wednesday after Labor Day. That was part of my resentment towards Labor Day. But I didn’t mind school so much.
I just didn’t want to part with summer. I loved summer!
I lived in a small town in Pennsylvania, the oldest of five children, in a neighborhood teeming with kids the same age as my siblings and me. Summer meant a lot of wiffle ball games, Capture the Flag, and Kick the Can. It was running around in shorts and t-shirts and often no shoes.
The summer involved a lot of arguing over foul balls and blowing big Bubble Yum bubbles in the outfield. (As long as our dad didn’t catch us — he hated gum and we weren’t allowed to have it.) It meant dreading the time when our parents would call us in for the night, the lightning bugs guiding us home. (Our parents probably dreaded that time, too.)
I remember taking baths and the water being charcoal gray from all the dirt that had been on our feet. Oh my god, I loved that. Then we’d get into our summer PJs. If it wasn’t super hot, a fan would be enough to cool us off in our bedrooms upstairs. If it continued to be over 90 degrees into the nighttime, my mom would let us all sleep downstairs where the air conditioner in the dining room kept the first floor bearable. She’d often sleep down there with us. My dad didn’t mind the heat. He’d stay upstairs. He’d have to get up early for work the next day.
The summer would begin in June as school started to wind down. We’d be allowed to go out and play with our friends as long as we got our homework done first. We’d go tearing out of the house as soon as we did.
Then school was out, and we’d be outside all day, running free in the neighborhood. Sometimes my mom would take us over to the community pool. As I got older, I’d ride my bike there with a friend or by myself.
Then there were the two weeks set aside for our family vacation to the Jersey shore, usually the last week in July, first week in August. This was long before Jersey Shore became a reality television show, kind of ruining the actual Jersey shore’s reputation.