Back to School Blues


Sailing Toward the End of Summer and the Beginning of Another School Year

Getting “Educated” by the Bay in Wildwood, NJ Labor Day Weekend 2020

Originally Published in the Sun by the Sea…print and online at:

Want to strike terror into the heart of your young child? Seven words ought to do it. Cue the music to the Jaws soundtrack before announcing, “It’s time to go back to school (to a kid, these words just don’t have the same sweet ring as, “Time to go back to the beach.”

Labor Day takes on a whole different meaning when you’re a kid. While most adults are counting the hours until the three-day weekend, most kids are dreading the minutes knowing that the end of the weekend constitutes the start of the school year. It’s time to shake off the seaweed, wash off the remainder of Banana Boat, and start thinking about (supposedly) more important (read: intellectual) things. That’s right, young minds that once contemplated the perfect wave will soon be considering the perfect equation. Blackboards will replace surfboards while stale chalk dust steps in for a still ocean breeze.

Let’s face it, summertime beats school time any day of the week. Fortunately, for vacationers-no-more, things aren’t as bleak as they may appear  (at least not for the weary parents who eagerly  anticipate the beginning of the school year since, well, the ending of the school year). For students, perhaps it’s time for a little imagination.

Imagine, for instance, beach chairs stacked up where school desks once stood. How ‘bout beach bags pinch hitting for school bags? Not likely to happen, but one can still dream (even one who used to sleep in but is now awakened before the seagulls). Outside of that dream, the average student cannot help but notice that ceiling tiles have a way of eclipsing sun-inspired skies, causing ruler lines to overshadow suntan lines. Yet, a crisp autumn breeze can put anyone in the right frame of mind. While school would be brighter if it required an SPF 30, as opposed to a Number Two pencil, the things that made summer at the shore so special are still there (minus the crowds).

Following Labor Day, the increasingly condo-lined streets are a little more deserted during school hours. Speaking of desserts, (and weren’t we?) there’s so much to learn at school! For instance, how many scoops of ice cream go into a Cool Scoops milkshake and if that same number of scoops was applied to a sundae but only half that number was applied to a banana split, could you, in theory, have invented a really good afterschool snack? Don’t know? Good thing there are teachers to help figure out such complicated matters.

School is also a good place to jumpstart one’s career. The sound of school bells will soon replace the sound of the tramcar (just as we were getting used to that melodious sound). Thanks to driver’s education, any student who acquires a driver’s license (and a knack for blocking out the aforementioned melodious sound) can become future tramcar drivers! School can also help inquisitive students figure out such perplexing questions as, “Where do seagulls go when they sleep?” (A decent education also keeps curious kids too busy to ponder such questions).    So, while time at school may pale in comparison to time outdoors (as we all will do without those daily beach walks), it has its benefits that teachers luckily provide. No lifeguards required.🏫🏫

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