I still remember summer's end in Michigan when leaves begin to let go of their green, and autumn evenings may occasionally reveal the bared and glittering teeth of winter. Then comes time for lingering at the table after cozy suppers once again, and long neglected school books open under lamplight's golden pools.
Of course we couldn't confess to a surfeit of summer, but by Labor Day most of us children were ready to shuck off shorts and sandals, eager to view in the shoe store's X-ray machine the room left for toes to grow in brand new lace-up shoes.
And we were confident she would be waiting, Miss This or That, our "By Labor Day, most of us children were ready to shuck off shorts and sandals." teacher whose existence outside of school had no more reality for us than did the flesh under the dark dresses she invariably wore. We would have been shocked to encounter her away from the class room, would have ducked our heads in embarrassment to witness anything so unseemly as a school teacher in a dime store or at a picture show.
Like our mother who pushed us out the door in the morning and hung in a state of suspended animation until our safe return, our school teacher was defined by the space she occupied. So, tanned, mosquito-bitten, fattened up on home grown sweet corn and tomatoes, we marched back to school to pierce the briar hedge and rouse her from her summer slumber.
Another fall is almost here. The acrid smell of chalk dust will soon mingle with the apple wine of harvest. Now I am a grown-up and a school teacher myself. Crazily I find some of what I believed so long ago is true. A part of me sleeps each summer and waits in limbo until that morning early in September when the first student walks into my classroom and by his presence, brings me fully back to life again.
Faye Moskowitz is the author of "A Leak in the Heart."