There's a nip in the morning air. The leaves on the trees shutter as they begin to morph from green to hues of brown, yellow and red. Little children walk and skip in their crisply ironed shirts and newly purchased saddle shoes…
Wait, I think I have my generations mixed up. But it is Back to School time and it's got me to thinking of my own school days. I did skip and walk to school on most days, occasionally I was less enthusiastic and I would drag my toes and scuff my shoes. From kindergarten through my high school years I lived within walking distance to school. My longest trek, probably a mile or mile and a half, was seventh and eighth grades. Actually those were the years I qualified for riding on the bus, but that didn't last long when I found that I was picked up first and let off last which cut dramatically in to my morning sleep time and my after school play time.
Elementary school was about three short blocks from home and high school was around three long blocks. I'd like to tell you that I walked for miles each way with baked potatoes in my pockets to keep my hands warm but that was my Mother's story. She was born in Wisconsin and spent her early years in Iowa so maybe her story was true but I can't say for sure. I have been known to tell it as my own story to my grandchildren on occasion but I don't think they ever believed me.
I ponder this now as I think of my own nine grandkids and probably only two have ever walked to school and I am not even sure about that. For sure the three that live here in St. Louis, two in high school and one in fifth grade, have never walked to school. And I think about the things they have missed. Things as simple as finding a shinny object in the street or as major as rescuing a stray kitten from the bushes and bringing it home to call your own.
My Mother always knew when I was approaching home as my dog Dottie would have her nose pressed at the bottom of the backyard gate in anticipation of my arrival. Once home I would change out of my school clothes and in to my play clothes. Do kids do that anymore?