Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 09/06/13

The Red Umbrella

The Red Umbrella

By Carrie Jacobson

On Tuesday, here in Virginia, parents and alarm clocks woke kids up. They rose in a morning that was strangely early, strangely dark. They dressed in clothes that smelled new and felt stiff.

They shouldered backpacks filled with pens that all work, pencils with sharp points, unblemished erasers. Notebooks held oceans of possibility, untouched so far by thought or striving or error. There were special lunches, carefully packed in unstained lunchboxes, in which nothing has spilled or ripened over a weekend.

On the bus and in the schoolyard, they saw kids they haven’t seen for months, and they smiled and laughed and screamed, took up joyful friendships and strained ones, too, and surely found that some of each had changed, over the long lapsed months of summer.

I remember the smell of unused classrooms, open for the first time, in the autumn heat. The creak of floorboards and desk lids, the unaccustomed noises that come from lots of people being inside together. I remember the heat of those September classrooms, the sound of the bell and the PA system, and the feeling of my summer-hardened feet, inside shoes for the first time since June.

I remember the excitement of it all, and how I loved it. I spent the summers happily at the beach, but I was a learner, and school was my place. I loved the classes, the friends, the new clothes. I loved bag lunches and the bus and assemblies and recess and the teachers. I loved learning, and trying, and achieving.

And every year, when school opens, a little part of me wishes I were there again.

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2 Responses to “Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 09/06/13”

  1. Michael Kaufman Says:

    I wish I had been that way too, Carrie. I was more like Jeff, filled with dread as summer came to a close and hating almost everything about school.

  2. Carrie jacobson Says:

    Well, I probably wasn’t entirely without regret – but
    I was always glad. Wish I’d known you guys when we all were kids.

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