Labor Day 2014 is on the doorstep. When I think of Labor Day, my father immediately comes to mind. He was one of the “Greatest Generation” who helped build this nation right after World War II. He started his career in the midst of the great depression that cost my grandfather his business and his standing in society. Dad had a strong work ethic and his example was strong in my work life.
In my pre teen years, Labor Day meant a change of wardrobe for Dad. Despite the fact that we still had 90 days more of summerlike weather in Jacksonville, the seersucker suits and straw business hats were sent to the cleaners and then carefully packed in mothballs in the back of his closet. It was the same with Mom’s summer clothes and those that we kids wore. By the end of my high school years, that old rule of not wearing white after Labor Day was pretty much gone. Practicality won out over fashion and we would wear white pretty much into late October and early November when cool weather finally arrived. And Gasp! Believe it or not; we would wear white when it got warm in the spring even if it was well before Memorial Day.
Unlike today, school did not start until after Labor Day. For us, the first day of school was always the Tuesday after Labor Day. So the weekend was spent, gathering school supplies from the stashes that Mom had been building during August. Final touches were put on our school uniforms; patches sewn on the shirt pocket, pants measured and hemmed and shoes polished and made ready.
What Memorial Day and Labor Day marked for us was the boundaries of summer time off from school. School was always out before Memorial Day and never started again before Labor Day. That was true all over the country back then. By the time Memorial Day arrived, the summer plans were set; temporary jobs were obtained and plans for weekend get-togethers made. The tempo of life shifted down a little. Labor Day was the point to shift gears from the lazy days of summer to the business of getting an education. Summer jobs were over, and mind sets were changed to the business of school. Even college didn’t start before Labor Day.
After college when I entered the work force in broadcasting, the meanings of Labor Day and Memorial days as shift points in the pace of the year completely went away. I spent my very first Labor Day as a part time member of the work force, working an extra-long air shift, spinning records for the full time DJ who had the holiday off. That was pretty cool for me as I was able to be a part of many families Labor Day parties playing music on the radio for the back yard gatherings or the families making trips to the lake or to visit family.
So, what’s in store for me on Labor Day 2014? I will be in the air chair doing my Oldies Show on WUSC-FM. Not the extra long shift of bygone days, but the usual two hour shift from 10 AM until Noon. There will be families listening in their back yards and driving to the lake. All is as it should be. Happy Labor Day, everybody! Oh MY!