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Back to School: Our Mother's Perspective

Lisa and Shelly welcome a special guest post this morning from our mom!  Please leave her a comment about your own "first day of school" experiences. 

Lisa asked me to send her some photos taken of hers and Shelly’s first day at school. Hmm – surely I have some. That was a momentous day in the kids lives, and certainly, in mine.

I found ONE picture of each of them – that’s all – and not even good pictures. No one would know that it was from their first day of school except that the month and year are written on the back. 
First Day of School 1978 - Lisa in Kindergarten
Lisa - age 5 - Kindergarten
First Day of School 1978 - Shelly in Third Grade
Shelly - age 7 1/2 - Third Grade

Why didn't I take more photos? 

Perhaps one reason is that summers were different in the mid 1970’s – 1980’s than they are now. Our biggest event was six weeks of Saturday swim meets for their younger brother. We took an occasional vacation out of town. Once, when Lisa was almost ten, she attended Camp Cullen. I have a photo of her with her trunk.

I've learned that what I recall about summers won't be the same as the girls recall, but summers when they were in elementary and middle school consisted primarily of neighborhood activities – swimming at one of the two neighborhood pools where they could go on their bikes, playing outside and at various friends’ houses, library visits, and maybe an occasional movie as a treat.

Aside from Lisa's one time, there were no week long camps, either in or out of town, and no extensive sports camps (the girls didn’t play any team sports). They girls may have continued dance classes and piano lessons, but with an emphasis on fun and not preparing for a recital or dance competition. Mostly, they just enjoyed being out of school and doing things like swimming, playing and reading.

We went “back to school” shopping in August – primarily to their dreaded store – Sears. Well, that’s where my mother took me - the store on North Shepherd in Houston. And of course we bought school supplies.

So, by the end of August, I think we were all ready to return to some sort of routine that included getting out of the house and seeing more friends, even if it did involve early mornings, homework, school projects, deadlines, regular bedtimes and activities that caused stress. Summer was a welcome break from all of that and, yet, made us all look forward to doing it again.

But, why no pictures? Was I too excited to finally get back to a routine to stop and take a picture? I don’t know. Although in retrospect, I wish I'd grabbed the camera. 

Marilyn Henley
Mom to Shelly, Lisa and David

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