Fall, or Autumn, or – Summer’s Gone

(reposted, because you never read it)

There’s no question that I love summer, always did as a kid, having played baseball throughout childhood both little league and street league.  However, as blasphemous as it seems, there came a time when I was ready to go back to school.

There’s something about new shoes, jeans, long sleeve shirts, and a light jacket that turns me back into a 12-year old.  There’s something about picking out a new backpack, pens, erasers, and other school supplies that screams in smiles.  That’s probably why I became a teacher.  It doesn’t hurt to have an October birthday.

My first concert ever was 1978, Bruce Springsteen at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ.  It was a nice October night, and I’ve been able to snag a copy of the same show on CD off E-bay 30 years later.  No, of course it wasn’t legal, but it’s gold, no doubt.

September through January, when school let out at 3pm, we ran home to change into play clothes and then headed to the town park for football.  If you had a shirt with any amount of green, it was just as good as a NY Jets jersey.  If blue, then you believed you were on the NY Giants. No other teams mattered.  We played until the 5 o’clock whistle blew, which was loud enough to hear at every corner through the square-mile town of Lyndhurst, NJ, only five short minutes from the Lincoln Tunnel.  Latecomers had to wait for an even number to join a team.  Nobody had an arm like Pete Miserak.  Nobody had the speed of Benny Esposito.  Nobody complained like Scott Lindskog.  Nobody knew everyone else’s touchdown totals like Mike Tesauro.  And nobody thinks about those days as much as I do.

(yes, i am in this picture somewhere)

I worry about kids today.  Those days taught us how to work with others, how to be fair when making teams, how to solve problems by watching defenses, when to stick to your guns on a controversial out-of-bounds call, and when to walk away when someone was too stubborn or about to call their big brother.  We learned simple math from keeping score and geometry from figuring out which trees marked the goal line and sidelines.  Today, kids shut themselves in the house with Nintendo, Playstation, Xbox, and whatever else is out there.   They don’t play together; they play against.  They’re too accustomed to hitting a “reset” button instead of working it out.  They sit back and wait for their parents, or parent, or guardian, or grandma to take care of everything for them.  They just aren’t willing to work, and nobody has shown them how to get things done for themselves.

You want to smell the greatest smell in the world?  If you’re north of the Mason-Dixon Line, go outside on the first Saturday in October at about 10am.  Feel which way the wind is coming from.  Lean back slightly, flare those nostrils, and slowly, deeply inhale.  It’s the closest I’ll ever get to a time machine.

48 thoughts on “Fall, or Autumn, or – Summer’s Gone

  1. I will do this on Saturday – this is a lovely post – nostalgic but also provides a teaching moment or two — I am now determined to get my media addicted kid out and about a little more (he is a young man, but it is never too late–when he comes home from college this weekend for Cdn Thanksgiving I think I am going to talk him into taking a hike–and you were the inspiration)

  2. A lot of thoughts here. I too recall all the games we played outside … yet I see so little of that today … and yes, that’s sad. Meanwhile, on the first Saturday of October this year, I hope to be at a college football game … and hopefully not in the rain.

    Off topic – Receive you FP notice yet?

  3. This post gave me a warm feeling on a particularly awful morning I have had. I am so wishing I was north of the Mason-Dixon line so I could take a big whiff of that smell. We don’t really have a proper fall down here in the Gulf.

    Are you going to tell us which one is you in the picture, or am I going to have to take a guess?

  4. All of those screaming smiles are probably what launch a lot of people into teaching, don’t you think? It’s the love of it all directing hearts to teach… and then reality starts weaving in and changing it all…with parents and teacher conferences : ) But, there is always that one or two or more really great kids that keep inspiring you. I taught pre K …until I escaped.

  5. Your first concert experience – amazing!
    You know when we start talking about “kids today” we’re getting old.
    Been chilling out to Prove It All night for the past ten mins 🙂

  6. Fall is my favorite season, pretty much tied with spring. I’m just on the south side of the Mason-Dixon line, but Saturday’s supposed to be mid-70s with a cold front coming in that night. It’ll feel like fall. 🙂

  7. Just heading into summery weather now and I’m not looking forward to it. For me summer always means stress as I live in a bushfire prone area. A little bit less cold will be pleasant though, for a couple of months at least.

  8. Aww, Autumn is my favorite season, but we don’t have it here in the Philippines. *sad.* I really, really want to experience autumn someday. It’s a part of my bucket list.

    And oh, seems like you had an amazing childhood. I love the last photo you posted. (Back to the Future) 😀

    • When I think about what kids face today growing up, I agree. I had a great childhood. The biggest complaint I can come up with is that my father was a little rough on me at times. But in some ways his Roughness made me better able to handle things that I would eventually deal with down the road. Other than my mother passing away when I was 22, my life has been rather uneventful but in a good way.

  9. Pingback: #fridayfictioneers – 5/10/12 – The End of Summer « Sarah Ann Hall

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