Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The end of summer -- not!

I see the school parking lots are full as teachers ready their classrooms for the influx of students in just two weeks. I'm not going to say "Where did the summer go?' because it hasn't.  Summer doesn't end until September 23.

My grandsons, who live in Georgia, started school yesterday -- which effectively ended their summer.

All I can say is, "Thank heaven for air conditioning!"

School used to end for the year after Memorial Day in May and not start up again until after Labor Day. I suspect the schedule had less to do with the fact that no one can learn anything when the temperatures soar into the high eighties as that the students were needed at home to help with the family farm.

The long summer also made it ideal for non-farming teens to find jobs. Employers were willing to hire on for three months, whereas today they aren't so eager to take on part-timers for a scant six weeks or so.

I had a summer job as soon as I could get my "working papers" at fourteen. We lived by an amusement park that was a mecca for local teens who wanted to earn some money. I served soft ice cream, wearing a white uniform and a hair net as required by the Board of Health.  I saved all my paychecks until September and then shopped for school clothes. What a thrill it was to pick out my own wardrobe and pay with my own hard-earned money!

But not all teens are as lucky, and for some the long summer drags on and on, with "nothing to do." So maybe it's a good idea to shorten it. I'm more and more becoming a proponent of year-long school. Family farms are a thing of the past. Jobs are scarce for adults, let alone teens. And with both parents working these days, leaving kids unsupervised all day is a recipe for trouble.

With year-round school, the start of school won't signal the "end of summer" because there would be no "start date."

I have no idea what that would do to the economy because it would also put an end to "back to school sales" in stores.

And then we would have no idea when summer was over. I guess we'd find out when the leaves started changing and we turned our air conditioners off.

Like Mother Nature intended.

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