This should be the post titled “Summer Classics: Grilling,” or, as the Husband cleverly put it, “Summer Classics: How the Weather Ruined Our Plans.” He is probably still somber over the rain delay of the Nascar Race at Watkins Glen two weeks ago, whereas Marcos Ambrose took the checkered flag on the following Monday afternoon while the Husband sat in a meeting at work.
Really, I cannot complain. Water is seeping from an overflowed Hudson River into Lower Manhattan and 4 million people are without power, thanks to Hurricane Irene. We only can’t light a reliable charcoal fire in 40 mph wind gusts. So, please indulge me, as I take a walk down memory lane, because the cooling temperatures and shortening days do, every year, bring to mind… Back To School.
Eau De Crayola never fails to take me back. Stiff and scratchy new clothes, spotless new sneakers, and a book bag laden with the tools of the trade is the sensory equivalent of the late summer return to school. I still fight the urge to purchase new folders, spiral notebooks and packs of pens this time of year. Sometimes, I cannot resist, and slip a box of pencils into my shopping cart. This time of year is one of beginnings; a subtle, but no less compelling, cousin of Spring.
This year marks 20 years since I graduated from High School. My class celebrated a reunion, apparently, last weekend. It seems like a different lifetime, or at least a different person who reached that finish line. My high school years do not tug at my heart (sorry, Class of ’91) and I do not marvel that “it’s been 20 years since homeroom!” What does tug at my deep-within is that just two months after that rite of passage came another. I am far more nostalgic (and a tad shocked) that 20 years ago this week, I became a college freshman.
It really does seem just like yesterday that I unpacked my parents minivan and moved into the dorm. Four days of Orientation lay before me, where I would make those “friends of a lifetime”, meet my first serious boyfriend and get to know my roommate. That first night she babbled gibberish in her sleep, as she did off and on for the next four years. The days were alternately hot and humid, cool and sunny, as is the mood of Mother Nature in late August.
As I watch the young people in my church begin the next chapters of their lives as college freshmen (which I can do in real-time thanks to Facebook), I feel envy. Not the sour, searing kind of envy, but the warm, I’m-smiling-and-I-don’t-know-it kind of envy. The kind that fuels the occasional dream I have that I am registered for the fall semester at my Alma Mater, in my present life, and I’m trying to puzzle out how I am going to keep house and manage class 100 miles away. In this dream, I live in the dorm; I’m there, as far as my subconscious is concerned. I go back, and I feel the sun through those campus trees and sharpen my pencils, and even smell those classrooms. I go back, because I became me in college.