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Summer's Swan Song

The curtain comes down on another season—but there's still time for an encore.

Despite the fact that I’m still a week away from my annual vacation in Ocean City, I have been noticing some very disturbing signs recently that indicate summer is coming to an end.

Oh, sure, the thermometer is still registering 90 plus and flipflops remain our footwear of choice (if we’re forced to wear shoes at all). But all around me, I’m getting distinct messages that summer of 2012 is quickly becoming one for the history books.

And I know I’m going to sound ninetysomething for saying it, but I can’t resist: hey, where did the season go? It seems like just yesterday we were getting home from our trip and looking forward to the Fourth of July. But yesterday I wrote a check and realized the date was actually the midpoint of August. How did that happen?

It didn’t help that the aforementioned check was one to pay a son’s college tuition. Once those bills become due, it’s just a downhill slide toward autumn.

But even if I wasn’t writing checks to institutions of higher education, I’d still know my days of summer are numbered. For the first time in months, we have nothing “theatre” on our family calendar.

From the day that school ended until the end of July, kept both my daughter and my husband busy. Libby was learning lines and songs for her dual roles in Willie Wonka—she was Matilda, a classmate of Charlie’s, as well as an Oompa Loompa—while Scott was dedicating any free time he had to helping create the scenery for the season’s three shows.

The theatre’s 39th season—and first at —was the fourth summer Libby spent sniffing the greasepaint, and she remains hooked. So much so that, when the final curtain came down on Wonka, she wanted more. So we signed her up for the “Only Small Actors” camp at the Sketch Club in Woodbury (run by WDLT alum Suzanne Buksar and her mom, Liz). Libs ended up with the lead role of BB Wolf (as in “big, bad”) in their original play, BB and the Big Bad Trial. Amazing how much they accomplished in two weeks.

But it’s just as amazing that there are no “rehearsal,” “set construction” or “show day!” notations in our Cozi Family Organizer in the near future. The end of the summer theatre season is a definite sign of the approach of autumn, just as clear as falling temperatures or the ringing of a school bell.

Lest I mourn the passing of a theatre season too quickly, I was reminded that the upcoming months will bring opportunities of their own. My pastor’s wife emailed, asking me to join the committee working on the kids’ Christmas pageant at . Well, that’s one way to move into the next season—an exciting one all its own.

But before August gets lost in a flurry of back to school commercials and fantasy football draft dates, a collection of new backpacks and composition books and at least one kid’s mad rush to complete (or start) his summer reading, I need to push the pause button. There’s still more than a week left before Labor Day and the changes that come after.

I challenge myself—and all of you—to take that time and celebrate these waning days of summer. Take a dip in the pool, stand on the curb for the Mister Softee truck, catch a or a sunset down the shore. The routine and regiment known as September is breathing down our necks, for sure. But we still have time to make some memories.

Which I plan to do on my upcoming vacation. But my memories will be made on the cheap. After all, time and tide—and tuition—waits for no man.

Patrick Hair August 20, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Summer memories. Great article Mary! When I was really young (3rd grade) I couldn't wait for summer but by August I was bored. Even though in those days I was fearful of school I was ready for a change. By the time I was in 7th grade I didn't want summer to end becuase I had more of a beyond school friend network. So I was no longer bored during summer. Developing more athletic coordination helped too, and being in love. In high school, even though I still enjoyed summer playing music with my friends, partying, etc., I had developed a good network of friends AT school, especially by 10th grade, as well as music activities. So I actually looked forward to going to school--certainly true by 11th grade. By that time I spent more time in school and at school in related activities then at home. Jim Poole actually "taught" me to enjoy cooler weather activities so that Fall became my favorite time of year--from Oct 1 to New Years. Good thing . As I got older and became allergic to bees and less tolerant of hot sticky weather, I was more easily able to enjoy non-summer time. Now I'm here in Wisconsin. And even though we had some 100 degree days this summer and a heat wave of 6 weeks, the highs have dropped back to the 70's for August. A big change from Jersey where summer can start in March and last until the week before Thanksgiving. Ahh. No more yellow jackets flying around Halloween candy bags or band uniforms during a football game. Most years,Fall begins in Sep
Patrick Hair August 20, 2012 at 12:46 AM
It can even be cold here by Halloween and snow before Thanksgiving. I only remember a few cool Falls in New Jersey. A couple of years around 2nd-4th grade when I needed a jacket in the mornings in August and 1976-77 when September and October actually had some cool weather and I needed long pants and sleeves with a jacket..

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