Friday, September 2, 2011

on a summer trade off

My Dad taught English at my high school, my mom taught English at the high school in the district down the road from ours.  By the third week of June when my brother and I were finishing school, so were our parents.  It was years before I realized that some grownups had to work in July and August and that I might have to be one of them.

In high school I took a job as a lifeguard at our town beach.  It was a job, but sitting in the sun every day of the summer could not be called work.  Then, after my sophomore year of college, it was decided that it would probably be best if I stayed in Albany rather than come home, so I gave up the beach.  I had worked during the school year as a second shift employee at the New York State Office of Unclaimed Funds* and decided to stay on there for the summer.  I thought I would like feeling responsible.  Instead, I remember that first summer day commute, getting on the number 12 bus at 1pm on a gorgeous June afternoon and realizing that I would never again have a summer outside.  It was kind of terrible.

But the downside of my parents' summers was Labor Day.  As the last days of August ticked by the house would feel tense.  The words "lesson plans", "department chair", "first day", began to creep into their vocabulary and our world changed.  The feeling was so palpable that even now, years later, I feel anxious as this weekend approaches.  I look at the calendar with a small sense of dread as if I too were heading back to school. 

So the happy trade off of these summers in the office is that there is no official end for us.  Labor Day can just mean a long weekend.  If it's warm in September than it can still be summer for we non-teachers.  And even though I'll be jealous of them in June, for now, I will take my stress-free** Labor Day weekend and love it.

my life guarding beach through Dad's camera after I went away to school

 *oh, there is so much more to say about the Office of Unclaimed Funds. So much.
**Mike wasn't able to find a teaching job for this year but maybe next year we will be able to feel stressed for good reason this weekend. 


  1. I haven't been in school for years and I still feel a certain shift come with labor day. I guess it still acts like the official book-end to summer.

    And yes, I would love to hear more about the Office of Unclaimed Funds. Why would someone not claim funds? Why do they need an office? Could I claim them? So many questions!

  2. hah Nina your last few sentences made me laugh out loud. I'll have to write the oddities of that place out one day.