The season known as autumn or fall began this week. I found that out by consulting a calendar. In all of my previous years since age six, I knew it was almost autumn because I had to do something to get ready for school.
When I was in elementary school, I usually fell down early in September and skinned my knees so I could begin the school year the day after Labor Day with bandaged or scabby knees. I continued that tradition off and on in one way or the other until into my college teaching days. Actually in my younger days, I thought the season was named fall because that’s what I always did.
By the time I was in college I recognized the fall season by buying some new clothes, usually at my parents’ expense. One time I went to a shoe store first thing in the morning to buy a pair of new brown loafers with my own money.
They were so nice, and a size smaller than I usually wore. By the time I got back to my dorm room after a day of shopping, I couldn’t get them on. That was one of my first lessons in becoming a smart shopper. Always buy shoes at the end of the shopping trip, not at the beginning. I think I still have those shoes somewhere. They’re still just like new. I could never wear them after 9 a.m.
After college I taught school until Bill and I were married and expecting our first baby. But from then until our oldest child began school, I still had to buy something for school, even if I wasn’t attending. Usually it was a new pencil or pen. And even before our oldest needed school supplies, I always bought new crayons or markers during the before-school sales because they were always cheaper then, and a houseful of children without coloring implements was like a house without sunshine on rainy days.
Once our oldest child entered school we had another one starting every year or two for 10 years. Then we not only bought school supplies, but also new clothes and lots of thread. I needed the thread to alter hand-me-down clothes that were still wearable and new clothes that didn’t fit just right.
The week before school began was hectic and the night before was absolutely chaotic at our house when everybody tried to lay out their one totally new outfit, book bag and school supplies so they would all be ready for the next morning.
It was during one of those years that the powers-that-be decided school should begin at the end of August instead of the day after Labor Day. I still consider that a mean trick to play on kids and teachers.
When our youngest entered first grade, I, too, went back to school as a teacher. Someone asked me how long I planned to teach. I answered, “Until the last Floyd kid graduates from this school
I didn‘t make it. When my husband retired from Corning, I decided to retire from my day job, and there were still Floyd kids there — the grandchildren.
Even after I finally retired from St. Marys, I still had to get ready for school each fall because I continued teaching as an adjunct, or part time professor art Edison College in Greenville and Piqua. So school shopping has been my main marker that said the fall season was almost upon us.
This year my husband‘s illness precluded my teaching this fall. So for the first time in many, many years, I never saw fall coming.
Granted there are clues every year other than school beginning that the fall season is coming. The leaves begin their colorful turn to brilliant colors that light up our part of the world after the soothing greens of summer. It gets just a little bit cooler, especially in the evening, and it gets dark earlier. All of these things are happening, and I’m beginning to notice.
But I am still waiting for my own personal indicator that fall is really here other than school beginning. That’s my first bite of the new crop of Jonathan apples. That taste always says fall in the most delicious way.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate Sept. 21, 2006.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.