way back playback: labour day + back to school

happy monday morning!

we can say that today because chances are you are off and relaxing at home instead of going about your normal monday morning routine.

don’t you just love a holiday!

and you can bet that by the time this evening rolls around, i will still have the biggest smile on my face [as i lollygag on the new couch]. i may even pick up the phone and call mom just to gleefully chuckle with her as we say, “we are so happy not to be going back to school!” with both of us being former teachers, labour day evening now is truly a time of relaxation. [i don’t know of one teacher who will sleep well tonight – just goes with the territory. that being said, i do wish all my teacher friends the very best tomorrow!]

growing up, i truly loved going back to school. [it was only my three years of teaching where the night-before-the-return-to-the-classroom was anxiety-filled]. the newness of the whole first-day-of-school experience really appealed to me. we always had a brand new outfit to wear, new backpack or tote bag of some sort, and the usual assortment of untouched school supplies.

another tradition: the first day of school photo! always taken in the same spot on our front porch, as you can see!

i don’t have too many clear memories of how we spent labour day itself, when we were young. i do know that we were always at home – we weren’t the type to come home from vacation or a day trip on this last weekend before school. so, the monday holiday would have been spent around the home, playing with neighbourhood friends, or in the teen years, watching tv.

that being said, we did have one annual tradition that i remember with extreme clarity!

on labour day monday evening, mom, dad, the brother and i would all go out to tim horton donuts.


we’d all choose a treat [chocolate glazed was my go-to!] and then sit around a table, chat, and get ready for…

…dad’s annual back-to-school speech.

poor dad. to this day, we still tease him every year about giving us that speech. at the time, however, it was no joke! after we’d inhaled enjoyed our donut, dad would turn all serious, and in a tone more solemn and stern than usual, he would lecture rally us for the upcoming school year.

i don’t remember exactly what dad would say, but it was along the lines of how we would need to work hard at our school work, stay focussed, and not be swayed by outside forces. the funny part is that the brother and i were both straight “a” students, so the relevance of this speech is what is questionable!

then, dad would turn his attention to our futures and remind us that hard work would allow us to pursue whatever career we desired. [i also distinctly remember an era where dad was very gung-ho about the fact that the brother and i should both be dentists in a joint practice, and he would be our business manager – sorry, dad, that this did not come to pass!].

for sure, dad’s heart was in the right place. but there was much eye-rolling and shoulder-heaving sighing from the brother and i as we anticipated dad’s back-to-school speech. and like i said, to this day, we tease dad, and every year we make some smart-ass comment, asking if he’ll be delivering his lecture to us. good thing dad can put up with teasing!

any back-to-school traditions from your past? it was always exciting to find out who my teacher would be and which friends would be in my class, too, on that tuesday morning back!

p.s. – > dad, if you want to buy me a donut later today, i won’t say no. just no speeches, ok?!!


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  • Lisa  On September 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    That’s so funny about your dad’s speeches! My dad is the exact same way, and he taught 5th grade for 36 years, so he was pretty teacher-ish in his speeches… he was goofy though, stood on his head in his classroom on the first day of school each year, and was always singing and having fun. I try to remember that even when I’m teaching college students (and thank gosh I don’t have to teach all day long—I would not be able to make it!).
    We have a series of first day of school pics from our front door too, usually with lunch box and book bag in tow. The two of us together, and then each separately. My mom asked me this year if I got a first day of school pic—nope I missed it this year!
    It really was always exciting to get started with new clothes and school supplies–that doesn’t last too long, but I don’t think I ever really minded going to school even after the newness wore off 🙂
    Hope you’re having a wonderful day and that you got your donut!

    • 1970kikiproject  On September 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm

      your dad sounds like he would have been a very fun teacher – the 5th grade kids would have loved the head stands! my dad is golfing today so i have to take a rain cheque on my donut – but i am in a coffee shop right now with a choco chip cookie – that’ll do! i agree – i don’t know if i could teach in a classroom all day long – your college set-up is much more attractive! wow – so many of us have the first day of school photo series! that is cool! 🙂

  • Zo  On September 5, 2011 at 10:21 am

    That is too funny. I have a few 70s era photos of myself on my front porch or in my driveway on the first day of schools. I think I’m usually holding a lunch box though (did I have a Donny and Marie one?).
    Definitely get a donut!

    • 1970kikiproject  On September 5, 2011 at 10:28 am

      ah! donny + marie! that is awesome! that lunchbox would be quite the treasure, now! my friend joanne had a donny and marie record, i remember – we must have listened to that and danced and sang along about a zillion times!

  • Nicole  On September 5, 2011 at 9:47 am

    You’re so right, Cathy! I just processed that tomorrow is the first day of school and my stomach did a few sommersaults. I’ve been good at ignoring the impending return by enjoying summer right ’til the very end- but labour day always puts things into perspective and reality kicks in. As much as I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine, there’s always something dreaded about the first day.
    Btw, I love those first day photos on your front porch. Are your parents still in that house? I think it would be great to go back to that porch and snap a photo for old times’ sake! And, you should rekindle the donut tradition with your dad! 🙂

    • 1970kikiproject  On September 5, 2011 at 9:54 am

      you are one of the people i was esp thinking of for tomorrow, nicole! all the best with your new class and students! we lived in that house til i was 17 years old…i was just on the phone with my mom now, and told her i love how she had us stand in the exact same spot every year! enjoy your last holiday day, nicole!

  • Holly  On September 5, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Yes, pick up a donut to keep up the tradition 🙂

    Your Dad and my Dad sound very similar — although he wanted us all to be architects. Who knows why!!!

    We also never took a trip so close to the beginning of school. We’d usually spend the day at home, watching movies, maybe going to the park for a while. Nothing too special but it was always a fun day since it was our “last” day off before school started.

    I do remember spending lots of time putting my new school supplies in my backpack — I’d find the best way to cram everything in there!

    • 1970kikiproject  On September 5, 2011 at 9:27 am

      AND both of our dads are long-time runners, holly! neat, eh! architects – > that’s a good one, too! oh yes – school supplies. i LOVED unpacking everything and organizing the stuff in my new pencil case!

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