The yearly countdown until June was almost always unbearable. I don’t remember much about it during my Kindergarten year, but I have a few memories of my first grade year. Holy slag, did I ever want to get the hell out of first grade; my teacher was an absolute monster whose regular speaking voice was actually a scream and she loved paddling any of us if we dared upset her. At the age of six I learned how to roll my eyes, simply by spending six hours a day in a classroom with her. That’s not an exaggeration.
Second grade I remember because our teacher was retiring at the end of the school year. We wrote “Happy Retirement” on the chalkboard but she didn’t notice right away and the entire class erupted with laughter. When she realized what was on the chalkboard, she teared up. She was a bit dense, but she wasn’t a terrible teacher. Definitely better than my first grade teacher. But it didn’t take much.
Third grade was a blur, but fourth grade wasn’t. I wanted out. I needed to get out, to get away from school for a few months. It wasn’t just my teacher–a strict, unlikeable and completely abrasive woman named Mrs. Smith–but something else, something that happened earlier in the school year. Something that I tried to bury. Something that I never told my parents.
I needed to get out for a while. Spending time with Bumblebee and Optimus Prime would keep me sane. They wouldn’t blame me for what happened. If I had told them, they would have believed me. Hell, they would have figured out something was wrong simply by the change in my personality. And they would have kept me safe.
Fifth and sixth grade blur together. I had the same teacher both years so it all seems to blend together. Even the classroom was the same. But summer 1986 was a bit more memorable; that was the year Transformers: the Movie was released. It took some pleading on my part but in August, I was able to see it. I can still remember the feeling of the upholstery of the seat in the theatre where I sat, watching the death of Optimus Prime. I don’t think I will ever forget that.
Getting out of elementary school and heading into middle and high school just made the years go by faster. The wait from the first day of school until the last wasn’t as long. If anything, it got shorter, speeding up as I went through seventh and eighth grade, faster still during high school.
Summer seemed to get shorter as well. It almost felt like if I blinked, I missed it. That seems to be getting worse now.
School’s been out for me for time that can be measured in decades. But I still have the urge to sleep in on most June mornings or hang out at the mall on a hot July afternoon. A part of me still thinks I should be off for summer, with no cares of worries until the beginning of September. Unfortunately, most employers don’t feel the same. So, to anyone out there who’s reading this on the first day of their summer vacation: enjoy it. Savor every last moment of it. You won’t have it forever and it’s gone all too soon. Enjoy it while it lasts, because it never lasts long enough.
Have a great summer. ❤