I was born, raised and still live in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. While growing up my days in the summer were filled with working in the garden, tobacco priming, playing in the creek, catching Lightning and June bugs and worrying about school starting in the fall. Even though summer break was much longer back then, it still wasn’t long enough for me. Needless to say I was not crazy about school.
School in the county I lived in never started until after Labor Day. My granddaughter Emma now attends Wilkes County schools and this year the first day is today, August 9th. That’s right, almost an entire month earlier than way back when. Times have surely changed.
What ever happened to the days when children were kept home until the crops were in? Now if a child is late for school for three days they are suspended or something crazy like that. I would have spent a lot of time in suspension.
When I was in the eighth grade, I was late for school every Friday. My daddy needed me to help get his weekly load of scrap iron cleaned and ready to take to the buyer. My wonderful teacher, Mr. Gayle Anthony didn’t reprimand me because he understood that I had to work. I was not laying out of school I was merely contributing to the livelihood of my family.
I understand the new school calendar. It makes sense. By starting earlier in the fall the children have more days off during the school year and they get out earlier in the spring. This certainly gives the kids and the teachers a break more often. When I was in school I only remember being off for Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. And, of course a few cherished snow days now and then.
Back to school for my granddaughter means back to work for me. We had a great summer together and I miss her all ready, but all good things must come to an end. (I hate that saying and don’t really believe it.) The house is so quiet this morning. The only noise is me banging the keys on my keyboard and the washing machine churning.
It only seems like yesterday I was sending my own daughter off to third grade. I believe her teacher that year was Libby Beshears. That was also the year we took her to Disney World. Funny how our minds drift remembering all the little things that really didn’t mean much then.
Oh well, enough reminiscencing. One of my mottos is look forward, not back. We can only change the future not the past. Today I will be happy for Emma as she starts a new school year and renews friendships. And I am back to work looking forward to the release of my new novel, The Color of my Heart late this fall. The last edit is finished on my children’s picture book titled, The Manger Mouse and I am ready to start the second edit of my next novel, The River Keeper.
Yes, it’s been a fun summer but I’m ready to move forward: To put words down on paper and create scenes and plots. Lately ideas for another novel have been popping into my head. I can only clear my own thoughts and let the characters have their way. I never know what I’ll write next. Some ask me what genre I write and I can only answer, what genre do I not write?
Since we’re talking about heading back to school I thought I’d share an excerpt from The Color of My Heart with you about my main character Laura who is sending her oldest daughter Lakin off to college.
Excerpt, The Color of My Heart
The day was overcast as Tam, Laura, and Lakin arrived on the North Carolina State campus. The dreariness of the day did nothing to dampen Lakin’s mood. She was literally bouncing up and down with excitement. The car was piled to the roof with everything a girl would need to set up housekeeping in the confines of a small dorm room. Lakin already knew her roommate’s name, Jade Mastin. They had spoken on the phone a couple of times since finding out they were paired, but still knew very little about each other.
After a dozen trips up and down to Lakin’s dorm room on the second floor, the SUV was unloaded. Then after another two hours, her bed was made, the matching curtains were hung on the window on her side, and most of the boxes were emptied. Drawers and the desk were crammed full. The worst part was sharing a bathroom between two rooms and three other people.
Before Tam and Laura left, all three went out to supper. They ended up at a popular chain restaurant where all the young people liked to hang out. Inside the parents got a glimpse of life in a college town 2004 style!
Kids were everywhere, laughing, talking too loudly. Some were at the bar drinking. Laura hoped they’d been carded. It was a reunion of scattered souls, a happy place for Lakin, but a worrisome experience for Tam and Laura. Wading out through the crowd, Laura had never seen so many tattoos. Back in the car she promised Lakin she’d kill her if anything other than her ears got pierced. Why in the world would someone want a nose ring or their eyebrows pierced? Not to mention the haircuts and strange colors like purple hair. Why would anyone want purple hair?