Summer is finally here

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Remember when?

By Bill Evans

I made it through May, in real good shape.
Of course, I had to go over to Central School and walk around that May Pole, wrapping a strip of colored crepe paper while bunches of children from all over town stood in little huddles and sang songs nobody knew.
It might make our teachers and principals happy but it sure seemed like a waste of time to me.
Betcha if they just passed out Dixie cups of chocolate ice cream we would’ve had more fun.
It’s always amazed me how grown-ups can mess up a good thing.
They make us dance around May Pole, but won’t let us do the one-foot hop after stepping on something on National Barefoot Day.
Now, I know we’re having to do without a lot of stuff because of the war, but for some reason, our school leaders had done away with the barefootin’ custom. And it couldn’t be at a better time, seein’ how it was our last day of school .
Sure, it was messy, with stubbed big toes and dirty feet with a few cuts, but it was a tradition.
Why, it was as important as the belt line over at high school.
By now, I imagine that belt line was a distant memory for the 88 members of Lancaster High School ‘bout to graduate. I imagine they’ll have to wear shoes, too, even though they’ll be getting diplomas on National Barefoot Day. Yes sir, grown-ups sure can mess up a good thing.
I was just grateful not to be one of the chosen in Willora Garrett’s singing class who had to get all shined up for a recital in our school auditorium on Tuesday night.
For me, school was about to be out.
Summer sure gave us a chance to get our minds off the war. Well, maybe not.
Between havin’ to wear shoes, sugar rationing and the passing of Mrs. Lena Springs in New York, I think everybody was ready for a summer break during the first week of June 1942.
Things were lookin’ up after it was announced we were joining with Charlotte in an upcoming blackout the night of June 12. The blackout was to include an honest-to-goodness, genuine simulated bomb dropping and maybe even a pretend fire or two.
Aunt Bess said her preacher, Mr. Showalter, had been taking some civil defense classes and was teaching it throughout the community so everybody would be ready for the blackout.
It was gonna take a lot of planning to get through this summer because I could no longer haul cartons from Parr Furniture.
This war business not only demanded bicycles but it also cut out refrigerators and stoves.  Also, there was this quick-on-the-draw truck driver who backed up to the trash bins and hauled off all the good cardboard and pasteboard cartons.
I never stood a chance. Thank goodness summer maneuvers were just around the corner.
Hey, there was a bunch of Saturdays left before school started back.
That means the cowboys at the Midway picture show will keep me entertained as long as I can come up the 12 cents admission which included tax.
I think I’ll go see if there is any loose change under the sofa cushions in the living room. Bless Pete, here’s a buffalo head nickel.  
Tom Keene, I’ll see you ‘Riding the Sunset Trail’ come Saturday. I’ll not let the war ruin my summer break.