My mother always said “The first day of school is Mother’s Day.”
My brothers & sisters didn’t quite “get it” until we were old enough to really understand what she meant. But she was right.
It meant that she would have entire days to herself; the entire house, in fact.
With six kids off to school, she gained freedom to organize, sew, have coffee and chatter with the neighbor women and catch up on “The Secret Storm”, “As the World Turns” and “Beat the Clock”, or “Queen for a Day”. She surely felt like the queen with all of us gone.
Over the summer, Mom had readied us for school by making our school clothes, collecting last year’s remnants of school supplies that we could get the new session started. She had visited enough Tupperware parties to have accumulated sandwich boxes unbreakable glasses and even individual salt & pepper shakers for each of our lunches.
At the end of summer, a shoe store “in town” held a back-to-school sale. Dad & Mom would pile us all into our old station Wagon and off we’d go. Any family who purchased five pair of shoes got the sixth pair free. Having spent the entire summer in bare feet, we kids were not too keen on tight, new shoes that would be outgrown in no time flat.
The trip was rewarded, however, with a visit to “The Keg”; a wonderful spot for an ice cream cone to enjoy on the way home.
The first day of school included having our pictures taken with Mom’s old Brownie box camera. She lined us up attired in our newly home-manufactured duds, toting paper bags that had our names written on them, new shoes and anticipation in our hearts.
Mom’s heart was filled with anticipation, too. After all, it was “Mother’s Day!.