August is only half over, and already this week the schools around here will be starting classes; not just the public schools but also the universities. That does not quite seem right.
Back in the day, (there he goes again, talking about ancient history) classes never started before Labor Day. Come to think of it, classes always ended before Memorial Day, so we were assured a class free June, July and August. Ahhhh! Summer Heaven! Before you start in on me about losing my edge on my studies during the summer and needing to keep my nose to the grindstone, I’ll counter with that never seemed to be a problem. I admit to being slow on the uptake for about a week, but after that it was running on all fours through the academic work.
I don’t buy the argument that our kids need to be studying all the time in order to stay ahead of the rest of the world. Back in the day, we put our books up for good for three months and we were ranked number 1 or number 2 when measured against students in other countries. In fact, I would make the argument that without a complete break, our students stay in a constant state of incipient scholastic burn out. Not only that, but they get out of balance, a condition that continues to plague them in their adult work life. Summer time was a time for relaxing, playing in the yard, pool or beach, listening to the radio and reading fun stuff instead of textbooks. I feel badly for the kids today, facing in Middle School the pressures we did not see until we were in college.
Left: This is my trumpet from my college days. This weekend is “move in” weekend at the University. The local television news shows are filled with images of students and parents lugging big cardboard boxes into dormitory doors. Even the deans of the schools and the President of the University are out there moving freshmen into their doors. Let’s see, how many people did it take to move me into my freshman dorm room? How many!?! One! Me! My parents put me on the midnight train at Union Station in Jacksonville and I arrived at the Seaboard Station in Columbia at 7 AM with my entire load of two suitcases. A quick cab ride put me curbside on the sidewalk of Devine and Sumter streets outside the “H” dorm 10 minutes later. At 8, the dorm doors opened and I helped the housing folks set up a card table so the students could check in. By 8:30 I was completely unpacked and getting hungry. So I walked across Davis Field to The Russell House where I had my first university cafeteria breakfast. After breakfast I was invited over to Hamilton College to pick up my Naval ROTC Uniform, rifle and some of my text books; the ones I would need in my Naval Science courses. The rest of my books would come when I had registered for my non-Navy courses. While cleaning my rifle for storage in the armory, the company commander of the Drum and Bugle Corps came by and asked if I played an instrument. When I told him that indeed I play trumpet and was drum major of my high school band. He asked me if I had my trumpet with me. When I said yes, I was immediately “giving my marching orders,” assigned to the post position of the trumpet squad. I had already planned on marching in the USC Marching Band so this was just an addition. I wound up marching in the USC band right next to my company commander. I remember that like it was yesterday, you’re gonna love this, his name was Woodrow “Woodie” Wilson, how presidential.
By lunch, my rifle (Springfield Model 30-06) was as clean enough to pass a cursory inspection by the Gunny and I lugged my duffel bag across campus back to my room, and taken my uniforms to the tailor across the street to have the necessary patches and insignia sewn on. There were three sets of uniforms, dress blues, khakis and whites. Boom! I was done! All moved in and ready for orientation that was scheduled to start the next day.
Tomorrow, I will need to be on campus earlier than usual for my Monday Morning show. The freshmen may be in already, but the upperclassmen who will be living on campus will be taking their turn filling the parking spaces and clogging the streets. It is going to be a zoo. Adding to that, there will be a street festival going on in front of the building that houses the radio station. All the more interesting! Gone are the lazy days of summer where I had my choice of prime parking spaces in the garage. Sigh!
During the rest of my living in the dorm college days, move in day was even simpler than that first time my freshman year. I don’t know when it became a full family affair complete with carloads of boxes, but I am glad I didn’t have all that to put up with. Freshmen and sophomores were not allowed to have cars on campus, only commuting students. In fact, I didn’t buy my first car until I was out of school and working full time. It was nothing to walk everywhere. But again that was a few years and a lot of pounds ago. Oh MY!