Happy New Year
September is a better time to start a new year than is January, to my way of thinking. Maybe it’s because of all my years in the classroom when September meant a clean blackboard , an uncluttered desk top, and a bunch of new kids. The proverbial clean slate.
Mother Nature seems to agree and celebrates with red, orange, and gold leaves on her trees and her gifts of apples and pumpkins. The cooler days and nights are a relief from summer heat, and even here in New Hampshire, the heavy coats and sweaters, the snow tires and snow shovels are still in storage.
When I was in the primary grades, “Back to School” always meant a new dress. Since school usually didn’t start until after my birthday, when my New Jersey aunts would send a dress for my birthday, I would wear it the first day of school. One year it hadn’t arrived, and I was horribly disappointed, but when I went home for lunch, there it was, and my mother let me change into it for the afternoon session. The ritual of a new dress for the first day of school carried through my years as a student and my twenty-seven years of teaching.
During those same primary grade years, September also meant a new pair of shoes. Unfortunately, they were the ugly brown oxfords with laces. The good part was we went to Boston to buy them at Thayer McNeil, and the fitting involved an x-ray machine where I, too, could look in a viewer and see where my toes came. I think that store also gave me a cardboard pencil box with a hinged top that snapped. The box held a couple of pencils, a large eraser, a 6” wooden ruler, and a tin protractor which I never ever used.
When my own children were school-aged, I loved seeing them head off that first day in new clothes, clean sneakers, and with no overdue assignments. It was a time for new subjects, new teachers, new hopes. In the house we could still find a pencil or pen and even the scissors and the stapler.
The thing about September, forever linked in my mind with starting school, is that it holds so much promise. A fresh start. The “space of possibilities.”
So, to me and to each of you readers, “Happy New Year.”
(c) Dorothy C. Judd
Next post: Wednesday, Sept. 12