Sure, I was a little nerd who got straight A’s, but I did not like school. There were Nuns there, my classmates didn’t understand me, and my stepmother put so much pressure on me to be the smartest student in the class.
Needless to say, I dreaded Labor Day Weekend. Summer was ending, and we had to pack up the summer house and head back to Brooklyn.
Did I mention that we summered on Long Island? I’m making it sound snootier than it actually was, but my stepmother had a place on the island, so we’d spend our summers there. My poor Dad had to commute into the city on the Long Island Railroad everyday, but the man never complained.
I, on the other hand, was never a fan of Long Island summers. Life in Brooklyn was awkward enough without my disappearing for ten weeks. While my classmates were bonding on the mean streets of Brooklyn, I was off not making friends with an entirely new group of kids.
It takes a lot out of a kid to be socially awkward in two completely different social groups, you know! I would just start to get to know the Long Island kids when it was time to say goodbye until the following June.
And there was no way in hell my stepmother would allow me to run up the phone bill by making long distance calls to Long Island! So, basically, any progress I made on fitting in and being a normal kid just got flushed down the toilet when we piled into the car for the drive back to Brooklyn.
I know the summers on Long Island were supposed to give me an experience that most kids growing up in Brooklyn never had. I get that and appreciate it, but all it did was make me realize that I was horrible at making friends no matter where they might live.
At least on Long Island, I could ride around on my bike and make up stories in my head about the great adventures I wished I was having. I fondly remember filling up a spiral notebook one summer with a Goonies kind of story about a group of kids who find treasure buried in the woods on Long Island.
Labor Day made me sad and anxious because going back to school was a lot of pressure for me. During the summer, I could still be a quirky introvert, but I got away with it easier because I could just run off and hide.
On top of that, there was the soul crushing pressure of having to be a perfect student. I just wanted to be a normal kid, who went to the park after school to play ball, learned how to talk to girls, and enjoyed life.
Instead, I had to go directly home and do my homework. If I brought home a grade that was anything other than a perfect score, I was interrogated, for what felt like hours, about why I had failed to achieve perfection.
I never had a chance to make friends. No one ever invited me over after school, but I guess that didn’t matter because I would not have been allowed to go.
School was my life, and the pressure of it all led to a weird list of medical issues. Don’t even get me started about the time I fainted on the bleachers during rehearsal for the school music festival.
Because of all this, Labor Day has never been my favorite holiday. In fact, it might very well be my least favorite holiday.
When you lose out to Arbor Day by a large margin, it’s really saying something about the negative impact you’ve had on someone’s life!
And don’t worry about me. I don’t have to go to school on Tuesday. I’m going to be just fine…
Is there a holiday that conjures up bad memories for you?