Every year with machine-like regularity, as August enters its last two weeks, our home begins to resound with the echoes of school years past. At first, small signs begin to show up to mark the dwindling days: a remembered dream, a stressed expression when nothing is happening, misplaced items like glasses or keys. Even before the grass has begun it's shift to golden brown, the reminders begin to pop up.
My family consists of two generations of teachers, you see. The dreams that are remembered and retold, following sleep-impaired nights in late August. Discussing them, the next mornings brings out the institutional stress lying at their core. The dreams consist of expressions of the theme: I'm alone in a long hallway, but can't remember which locker is mine. Variations include, the combination to my locker, the location of my first class, the book I need for that class, my gym clothes... or even, I'm naked in a crowded hallway. All the same dreams I remember from my own school days, but not revisited since shortly after I left my last classroom.
My wife and daughter, unfortunately, extended their school-time stresses into their adult lives. They both have excelled in careers they love, but there have been a few issues that accompany the satisfaction. The last few weeks of August each year, a sense of detachment descends. August runs out so fast, as a result of the looming return to work, my wife and daughter seem to lose hold of the remaining sunny days.
My wife has been happily retired now for seven years. I'm still amazed that the End-of-August Stress has such tenacity, but then again, our daughter has a new crop of college freshmen waiting, so it seems to run in the bloodlines. Each August, I wait with mounting excitement for September's renewal. Once school's back in session, and the day-tripper crowds thin out, the End-of-August stress falls away leaving a fresh, new month of warm weather, cool nights and less crowded venues.
Summer is certainly a wonderful time of year; but for me, the actual last few weeks before Labor Day find me anxious for the promise of September and October to come.
Causes Richard Sutton Supports
Tolerance, Heart Disease Research, Animal Rights, The American Indian College Fund