Happy Labor Day weekend!

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The first Labor Day strip for the comic “Garfield” featured this poem…

Labor Day, Schmabor Day,
What a dumb day!
You hire a guy,
Then send him away
To celebrate work
By playing all day!

Labor Day isn’t until Monday, of course, but the Labor Day weekend started today. It’s the last weekend of summer; any kids who haven’t started school already will be going back this week, and even though the autumnal equinox isn’t for another three weeks, for all intents and purposes summer is over.

autumn leaves

Back when I was growing up, Labor Day meant one thing: SCHOOL STARTS ON WEDNESDAY.


I didn’t really hate school when I was a kid. At the same time, I wasn’t really thrilled about going back after three months off. And I hated going back-to-school shopping. It was a real pain in the ass.

There wasn’t a whole lot of deciding what clothes to buy, because we went to a Catholic school. The uniform never changed: light blue short-sleeved cut-and-sewn shirt, navy blue tie, navy blue slacks, black or brown leather oxfords or loafers, and a navy blue blazer. The shirt, tie, and slacks were not negotiable, but the nuns would accept just about any sportcoat. We got hand-me-down sportcoats from my mother’s cousin (who was a couple of years older than I) and her stepbrother (ditto), both of whom seemed to get two or three new sportcoats a year and pass the old ones on to us. Usually the hand-me-down jacket I wore one year would fit my brother Jim the next and my brother Kip the year after that, so that was taken care of.

A week before school started, Mom would tell us to dig out our school clothes from the year before and try them on. Needless to say, none of them fit. So we’d go out and show Mom, who would have us trade clothes and see if they fit. That never worked. Kip and I were on the heavy side, while Jim was always slender, so if my old slacks fit him lengthwise, they were huge on him widthwise.

Finally conceding that we all needed new slacks, we would get in the car and go to Sears. The letter we got from school would tell us where to get the clothes, but Mom never went to those places. Sears had the Toughskins, the slacks with reinforced knees that weren’t supposed to tear. And of course, a couple of us had to have husky sizes, and they were stiff and baggy and always seemed to be too long. We went one at a time, so when I was done I had to wait while the other two got fitted. And there was always a lot of grumbling and complaining, not just from Mom but from the three of us. Then we’d have to go buy shoes, always one of my least favorite things to do. The shoes were stiff and tight, and by the time you got them broken in, it was time to buy new ones.

After I would get home, I’d lay my new clothes out on the bed and sit there looking at them. Yep, summer was coming to a close.

So, enjoy the weekend and the rest of summer.

4 thoughts on “Happy Labor Day weekend!

  1. My son was born on Labor Day Weekend Sunday. I’ve always admired his rather dangerous sense of humor – he was DUE on August 13!!!!

    If he went to school, he would be starting, this year, the day after his 13th birthday, which doesn’t seem like much of a present, to me. I’m glad he doesn’t need to do that, that he can spend his Wednesday as he pleases, and that, when we were at the store today, it was for things like beach towels and to reserve the Pokemon game he wants for his birthday, but which won’t be available until December. We try to avoid the back to school aisles – they do seem to be filled with grumpy kids and harried moms (oddly, we never see the dads…).

    We’d rather be happy….

    And my boy? HATES shoe shopping. As passionately as his sister loves it.


    1. Happy birthday to your son. He’d be going into 8th grade this year, I suppose, if he was doing the school thing. He’s lucky he’s not.

      About this time, I can imagine the back-to-school aisles look like a war zone. It’s just going to get worse this weekend, when the parents who haven’t done their BTS shopping drag their kids away from their last weekend of freedom and try to get straight answers to questions like, “how about these notebooks? Do you need pens?”

      The reason fathers don’t do the BTS-shopping thing is because they’re worse than the kids…

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      1. Jeremiah is registered with our local school district as an eighth grader, although, because of his September birthday, we could have waited a year, and he’d be seventh.

        At the beginning of our homeschooling, for reasons I no longer fully understand, I thought it was really important not to do that.

        Honestly, though, it makes next to no difference in our lives, for either child. When someone asks what grade they are/would be in, they seldom know. We don’t use curriculum, we simply learn as we go through our lives, and we never stop to wonder what grade-level that learning would be at.

        Schools need to sort kids out. We just have Jeremiah and Annalise, and there’s no need to sort or categorize them, because we know who they are already! =D

        We got a great deal on crayons, pens, and glitter glue (which make a very very happy girl, and a lot of art, too!). I found some little metal crayon boxes that will help with sorting some of the smaller debris piles of what was until recently Magnet Mountain. And we avoided all BTSers, except one pleasant mom with two cheerful daughters. PHEW!

        These days, here, the schools put out lists the parents can pick up right at the store. All the districts have a sheet.

        I just thought maybe the dads were smarter than the moms, in the same way that I end up supervising all acquistions of clothing and shoes….=)

        And you’re right. We’re all very fortunate here to get to live this way. It’s so good for us all!


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