The vacations are over, the leaves are falling, and the swim clubs are closing the gates to the pools.
It's time for another school year.
I remember heading out the door with a new pair of shoes, a neatly pressed dress and a lunch box full of cookies, an orange, a juice box and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was ready to conquer a new grade and a new year full of challenges.
I'd get so excited on that first day of school.
When I was little, I'd zip open my backpack and drool over all my brand new school supplies one last time before heading out the door (the early years always included a Trapper Keeper). Mom would usually fill me up with Cheerios and skim milk or some cinammon toast and give me a once over before I hit the road and walked to the end of the block to wait at the bus stop.
Waiting at the corner would be most of the kids I played with all summer long.
We'd all be freshly showered, spiffed up and well dressed - a far cry from the ragamuffin gang who played Freeze Tag and Four Square in the hot summertime.
The smell of freshly cut grass wafted through the air as we discussed with the utmost seriousness the items in our respective packed lunches (I was especially jealous of those who had moms cool enough to buy Capri Sun and Doritos) and who was starting the year with the coolest school supplies.
Then the big, yellow bus would cruise down Appleseed Drive.
Our chariot, ready to take us to a destination full of learning.
The bus ride wasn't so scary. We'd pick up all the other kids who lived nearby - the same kids I saw at the swim club all summer long. They were safe and harmless.
But as the bus pulled up to the school (whether it be elementary, middle or junior high), I'd be a bit more anxious and nervous.
Who would be in my classes this year? Would it be too hard? Would my teachers be nice to me?
Would the kids be nice to me?
All these years later, I guess that's what I'm still wondering.
Will the kids be nice to me?