As a child, Birdie had always hated for summer to end and for school to start. She grieved the loss of unscheduled time. In summer, she savored the days stretching out before her with no real obligations except for roller skating, swimming, and lolling about on a pallet on the kitchen floor, reading endless library books, eating green grapes, and enjoying the breezes that the large Hobart window-fan sucked up from the cool recesses of the basement.
Birdie made good grades, she had friends, and the teachers seemed to like her, so why she didn’t enjoy school was something of a puzzle. Looking back on it, Birdie suspects what nettled her was the enforced interruption of the time she would have rather spent daydreaming.
Certainly, school authorities frowned on daydreaming. It was not part of the curriculum and played havoc with their sense of structure and the molding of young minds. Miss Florence, Birdie’s first grade teacher, had dealt harshly with Birdie’s propensity for daydreaming. Birdie, with much sobbing, spent an inordinate amount of time standing out in the hall “until you can pay attention to your work!” The threat to keep Birdie after school was also one of Miss Florence’s tools to combat Birdie’s tendency to float on her daydreams when she should have been focusing on her assignments.
Perhaps Miss Florence prevailed, as Birdie did finally begin applying her attention to the tasks at hand rather than running off into an imaginary world during the time spent at her school desk. Still, all through her school career, Birdie regarded it as a poor way to use the days she had been allotted on this earth.
In particular, Birdie remembers that perennial, onerous assignment: My Summer Vacation. If she had to write that paper now, she would let daydreaming rule, and it would go something like this:
What I Did This Summer
This summer many things happened. I grew lots of beautiful flowers. Surprisingly, there were no weeds at all in my garden, and the deer did not eat any of the blossoms.
While working in my garden, I got a beautiful tan, and the amazing thing is that the sun did not cause me to have lines, wrinkles, or dry skin, but it did cause me to lose weight. I am now a size 6.
This summer, I also cleaned out all my closets and drawers. I organized everything, and in the process, found my birth certificate. How lovely to learn that I am really only 39.
And that’s what I did this summer.