“Will I get that marine-wannabe lunatic for phys ed?” “Will Mrs. So-and-so be sober this year?” “Is he back, I thought he had a breakdown?”
Back when I was young the new school year started on the Tuesday after Labour Day. “Summer” consisted of those days between the last day of school and the day after Labour Day; this was a school-free period – sacrosanct. Even after many years the thought of attending classes in August still just doesn’t seem quite right somehow. There was a clear definition of the end of summer; Labour Day Monday. Back to school sales were not seen until mid-August, certainly in not mid-July, something that both teachers and students now find repugnant. I’m no longer at school, haven’t been for some time, but the return to school affects many more than just students. Traffic picks up and even the business world gets back to normal operations with the vacation season over.
That holiday Monday was spent preparing yourself mentally for another long school year – or just being plain miserable. The soundtrack to this day of preparation and pain, playing in the background, was the annual Jerry Lewis Labour Day muscular dystrophy telethon. Jerry and Ed McMahon anchored the event in Las Vegas that, along with raising millions of dollars, eased us out of the lazy summer days and into fall. Even if the weather continued to be warm, perhaps hot at times, once Jerry had sung “You’ll Never Walk Alone“, and cried, and Ed announced that a new record amount had been raised -“timpani” – you knew it was all over. Now Ed has passed away, and Jerry’s been given the heave-ho for some reason and school starts in August. What the hell went wrong?