September means just one thing in my stunted little brain, and that’s the first day of school.

Never mind that I’ve been out of school and/or university for thirty plus years. Summer is for swimming in the sea and going barefoot and reading books. September is for new shoes and maybe a new skirt and sweater, a hair cut, folders, pens, pencils, notebooks. 

Back when I was fifteen, I never imagined that my brain would follow the school year forever, but it does.  I wonder if there’s still a little sigh in the subconscious each January, when the threat of exams doesn’t materialize.

And have you ever noticed how people say, a little sadly, “wow, summer just flew by this year.’

It flew by because the person in question has a job, and maybe had a week or two off, but basically it was just a month or two like any other month or two.

Most summers I’m writing — trying desperately to get a book to come together by September for publication the following September.

But this year I finished a book just before summer began.  And then my laptop went on the blink.  So for the better part of two months I had nothing to do but go barefoot and swim in the sea and read books.

Don’t even need new shoes now.


13 thoughts on “New Shoes

  1. Lorna Stallard 6 years ago

    There’s a line in ‘Happy Ever After’ by Adèle Geras that goes something like “I wonder how grown-up you have to be before you stop thinking of a year as being made up of school terms and holidays?”

  2. Michele 6 years ago

    Hi Meg,
    Your blog is so apropos. I was just writing in my journal how I see September as the first of the year, starting fresh in the fall with the school year. I wondered if or when I would ever not feel that way. Glad you got to enjoy the summer.

    1. Meg Rosoff 6 years ago

      Ah, we’re still kids at heart, aren’t we Michele??

  3. Sandra Davies 6 years ago

    Oh, those cardboard dolls with the pop-on clothes, the cutting out before you could start while your mind told stories – and then the paucity of your own drawn clothes and how some were sturdier than others. I wonder if my granddaughters could ever get such pleasure from them nowadays, always assuming they were still available to buy.
    Oh and I’m glad you had a barefoot summer.

  4. sallyparkrubin 6 years ago

    Goawd! This is almost like reading something from the 19th Century, Meg. I WANT TO FEEL MY TOES IN THE SAND, TOO! Let’s face it, I’m jealous. On the other side of the pond where I live, school starts mid-August. It’s completely uncivilized, to be sure. And, I find myself grousing about it every “summer”…whatever “summer” means anymore. It’s certainly NOT those dog days of late August of yesteryear. Sigh!

  5. adele geras 6 years ago

    Thanks for the quote, Lorna! And yes, I do still think of the year in TERMS and Sept is the time for NEW STATIONERY!! I bought a really beautiful notebook the other day and I have DRAWERS full of them…

  6. Maria 6 years ago

    First – you lucky lucky thing (and hard working) – book finished in June then laptop on the blink 🙂
    Second – oh, ah! One of those moments – it’s not just me (aged 29) who still follows the year through the school calendar. Only you could write about it so well though.

  7. Scrapiana 6 years ago

    Oh yes, I can definitely smell pencil shavings in the air come September! Sharp green apples, shiny brown conkers, sensible new shoes: what’s not to love?

  8. Kate 6 years ago

    Oh yes, they do still make those dolls with the cut-out clothes and my daughter played with them up until a few years ago. When we cleared out a drawer recently and found them, she got them out and will probably play with them when she has a quiet moment (she’s 13). But they don’t put them on the back cover of the Bunty comic anymore!
    We are on the last day of the holidays today and it is a glorious sunny day and yet the house has that air of quiet doom about it. My son goes more and more silent and still as the term approaches. My September image now is of a little creature motionless in the long dry end-of-summer grass with a bird of prey hovering overhead in today’s relentlessly clear blue sky.

  9. Lesley Martin 6 years ago

    I have pretty much always worked in a school or college and I can’t imagine what it must be like not to have your life divided into school terms and school holidays. The rhythm of the school year is ingrained in my psyche now. How boring it must be to do a job which is the same all year round!

  10. Ginny Poleman 6 years ago

    If you have children, then your calendar still revolves around the school year. My favorite back to school activity is purchasing new school supplies. My daughter and I still get giddy (she’s 16 now). The saddest year was when she was old enough to write her own name on all her materials. But I still pick up a new notebook or two, (they are so much cuter now than those black and white composition notebooks we had to use) and a brand new set of pens and pencils for myself!

  11. Sara 6 years ago

    We are having a strange extra day of summer here. University and school closed because if election here in Quebec. Went to visit a nearby National Park and found ourselves wandering deserted trails and beaches like some strange episode of Survivors.

  12. Deborah 6 years ago

    Does anyone know that quotation, “The summer I was 10, the summer I was 10… Was there really only one summer when I was 10?” I think it’s May Sarton, but I can’t find it anywhere. It makes me realize I always feel 10 in summer… Maybe because, as Meg says, summer means “going to the sea and being barefoot and reading books,” exactly like the summer I was 10. Speaking of paper dolls, does anyone remember Betsy McCall?

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