On the last day of school, we carried home notebooks filled with writing and math problems, and pencil boxes filled with broken crayons, worn pink erasers, and that protractor that was never used for anything but tracing Ds. (Elementary school pencil boxes always came with protractors. I don’t know why.) I would take my notebooks – the spiralbound ones – and all the used notebooks that my siblings left dumped on the floor too – and rip out all the pages of school work. All the definitions and vocabulary words, the math problems, the book reports, the history facts.
Almost all the notebooks still had some clean usable pages left. I would work carefully to make sure my ripping didn’t unbend the wire spirals, which were often a bit kinky after a year’s worth of being jammed into small wooden desks. And I would end up with a stack of thin notebooks, ready to become my summer journals.
I still can remember that feeling of anticipation as I looked at the little stack of notebooks with their tattered covers and clean white pages. The whole summer stretched before me – camping trips, days at the beach, evenings filled with fireflies, and most of all, time to write.