Posted to OGR on 05/02/2010
For as long as I can remember May has been a special month. In Jacksonville, Florida, where I grew up, the weather is already warm but the humidity of summer hasn’t arrived yet. There were always outdoor events to attend. The first barbeques of the year brought the smells and sounds of the season, the first trips of the year to the beaches and the lakes and the parties went outdoors. The music of spring and summer surrounded these events and completed the experiences. The family began making plans for the upcoming summer vacation. Until I was out of high school, my family never took a vacation outside the state of Florida, when you live in paradise why would you leave for vacation?
Anticipation of the end of school for the year loomed large and it became more and more difficult to concentrate on schoolwork. This was especially true in transition years, when changing schools. Somehow the school books became boring, even for my favorite subjects. Looking back on it, I think the teachers had the same problem. Studying for those last few exams, especially the final exams was such a chore. I didn’t know what “senior-itis” was back then, but I sure do now.
The end of May was a time of good-byes to friends at school, some for the summer, some forever. Many times, you wouldn’t know that you were saying good-bye forever. Many of my classmates were in military families, Jacksonville was a big Navy town back then and transfers would come in during the summer. School friends would disappear suddenly from my life. As I got older, as I became more aware of the possibility, I would wonder if each good-bye was a forever one. By time I was a senior in high school, I knew I was the only one from my class that was going to the University of South Carolina and I knew many of those good-byes were the final one. By the time my class held our first reunion, car accidents and Vietnam had taken a number of my classmates, but they remain youthful and strong at age eighteen forever in my memories. Oh MY!
Copyright 2010 Rick Wrigley