Behind The Iron Curtain: The First Day of School

A weird side-effect of getting older is an ability to throw around time spans that used to seem like an eternity not so long ago. It’s hard to believe that thirty three years ago on this day I was standing in my brand new school uniform clutching a bouquet of flowers almost as tall as I was, in front of the building where I were to spend the next 8 years. Behind us, proud and worried parents who seemed so old, but were probably younger than I am today, were getting ready to see their kids enter the school for the first time in their life. I can’t say I remember much of that day, but looking at these photos I can tell that I was worried and probably scared of what was waiting for me behind the big school doors on September 1st, 1976.

Ahead of me were the years of learning and adventures, friendships, successes, disappointments, first love, pranks, great teachers, not-so-great teachers, and so much more; the best and the most care-free years of my life where just behind these doors.

I am always disappointed with how casual the first day of school is in this country, most of the time kids just show up whenever their school district decides is a good day to start. When I was growing up® all the school and college classes across the country started on September 1st, now known as the Knowledge Day. Everyone showed up dressed in the parade uniforms, with flowers, there were speeches and the obligatory “first bell” when a first-grader was paraded around ringing a huge school bell. Throughout the school years the reaction went from childish excitement, to playing it cool “been there – done that”, to a sentimental tear when hearing the bell for the last time upon entering the graduating class.
On September 1st I look at these photographs and think about so many September Firsts in my life. Today there is a First Bell ringing somewhere for some other little kid. I wonder what his life will be like…
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  • I travel for JOOLS

    I really enjoyed the pics and the flowers and all. Every year I take my 2 granddaughters school shopping and snap their pictures on the first day before they board the bus. It’s a pretty big deal in our family and yes I wonder what their lives will be like, hoping, of course for the best futures possible. Is your mom in the pic?

  • no,but my late uncle is on the top photo in the top left corner

  • Are YOU in the picture? Because that one little boy sure looks like you.

  • I am in the center of both pictures.

  • You’ve hardly changed at all. 😀

  • maybe just a little

  • I travel for JOOLS

    I knew it was you after meeting you only once last year.

  • I think you’re taller now… that’s the only difference I can see 🙂

  • Class Mom

    I’m not sure on the taller part. I am pretty sure he still wears that outfit sometimes.