Thursday, July 28, 2011

School is Out

For most of us, that glorious week that marks the arrival of freedom for the summer has arrived. The books are put away, blackboards are cleaned, desks are straightened out and lockers are emptied! Yes! School is out!

Back in the days of our youth, there was little concern about the summer academic slump, so we were really "turned loose."  There were no reading lists, no classes, no exercises, just pure freedom. During my high school years, my friends and I sought summer jobs for a little spending money. Usually we worked as bag boys in the local grocery stores, or paper boys or mowing lawns in the neighborhood. As we joined the ranks of upperclassmen, we started saving for college. As far as summer jobs go, that summer after graduation and before college was the crowning glory of summer jobs.

That last summer, I had my one and only experience in retail. I was a shoe salesman for Thom McCann.  That brand of shoes is sold in Kmart and Wal-Mart stores these days but back in the early 60s, they were peaking with over 1,000 stores nationwide. Although I had fun flirting with all the girls who came in to buy shoes, I discovered that summer that retail and I were not a match made in heaven. There were long hours of boredom spent doing inventory and straightening out product that had been picked over. There were periods of time when it seemed like most of the free world had come shopping all at once. At least it took some of the time to clean up the mess later.

But the rest of the summer was filled with swimming at the beach or the lake, cooking out and just plain old laying around with my friends, listening to the radio. Those summer songs had a feel to them unlike the songs of the other times of the year. They were full of life, love and fun. It was feel good music. Even today, when I hear those songs, the memories being a high school kid feeling the freedom of the summer flood my consciousness. This Saturday, my buddies and I are going scuba diving. Oh MY!

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