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Hicksville Voices

The Sound Of Back To School Blues

Since the beginning of June, I’ve noticed Target clearing out a small section in the back of their store, which would eventually make way for their “Back to School” section. The area opened officially in July, much to the dismay of school age children and parents alike.

Please do not get me wrong — there is clearly nothing in the world like the feel of new crayons in one’s hand or the smell of fresh notebooks. I always loved back to school time when I was a child, but the feeling didn’t last into my adult years. Once I had a child of my own the end of summer always held a certain amount of sadness. The free feeling of waking up late, going to the beach, the aroma of Coppertone in the air, clearing out sand from the carpets, bees humming gently on a summertime breeze, wonderful family time — these would be things that I would clearly miss once she returned to school in the fall. Although I loved the regimented order of things once she returned, and the routine that we kept, I secretly missed the lovely freedom of summer.

So when the notebooks began to arrive in the stores, I began to wonder why major retailers felt the need to rush the season. While I understand that there are some shoppers who enjoy getting a jump on things in order to avoid the lengthy lines, I feel like we’re almost being forced to live in the future, rather than just being free to enjoy the moment.

Last month I overheard a young child in one of the aisles of Target, who began to whine to her mother, “Oh, no! The notebooks are out already!” Mom deftly avoided the area and offered a consoling response to her daughter, “Don’t worry, honey, there’s still a lot of summer left to enjoy.” Wise mama — although, deep down, my emotions echoed that of her child.

In summer, we kick back our shoes, we live in the moment. The fragrant aromas of rose and peony fill the air, we tend to our gardens fervently, or venture out to enjoy the harvest of a local farm stand or farmer’s market. This summer season has bestowed upon us some gloriously lovely weather, without too much oppressive heat and humidity. We’ve shared our yards with friends, enjoyed fireworks from our driveways, hosted parties, traveled locally — and it’s all been so glorious, that nobody ever wants the season to end. The warm temperatures are reminiscent of an easier, more laid back time, and we are resistant to the upcoming frigid temperatures of the oncoming winter. Summer is joyful, and there is much bliss that can be found sitting on one’s front stoop on a warm evening, iced coffee in hand, listening to the sounds of the crickets and children playing in the neighborhood.