Wednesday, September 9, 2015

NYC schooldays

Today is the first day of school in New York City. The New York Times has a look at the first day in photographs through the decades. I like seeing the classroom windows (1957), the marbled composition-notebook (1961), and the briefcases (1961, 1975). Not book bags: briefcases. In the 1960s nearly every kid in my school, P. S. 131, Brooklyn, carried a briefcase. Was it a New York thing? Moving to New Jersey meant ditching my briefcase — one of many varieties of culture shock.

Here in east-central Illinois school begins in mid-August, with oppressively warm classrooms and early dismissal as the norm. A post-Labor Day start seems to me sane and humane.

comments: 4

Diane Schirf said...

No idea what my school district does now, but we used to start the Tuesday after Labor Day. It felt like the right time to go back to school. In mid-August I was still in summer play/fun mode.

Michael Leddy said...

Wikipedia (to my amazement) has an article on the first day of school. According to this article, a post-Labor Day start is apparently still very common in the U.S.

Marzek said...

Post-Labor Day was the rule, as I recall -- the Labor Day weekend being a kind of swan song to summer.
Though I've been out of school for some years now, September *still* seems like the beginning of the year, more so than January 1. Sweet -- that first love of 'supplies' -- fresh boxes of crayons, crisp-edged notebooks, pencils. (And, throughout the year, a little queue each morning in front of the wall-mounted pencil sharpener).
I think I'll go and sharpen a new pencil now.

Michael Leddy said...

You’re bringing back my childhood. I will add: a three-hole ruler and a clear vinyl(?) pencil case, necessary for the well-dressed looseleaf notebook.