Nostalgia: My ’90s School’s Out vs His


Ah, the ineffable scent of summer, the chorus of squeaky classroom chairs finally being stacked away, and the collective sigh of relief that could make an organ vibrate. Yes, it’s the last day of school before the summer break. Today, my son’s joyfully parting with his textbooks and bidding a gleeful farewell to homework. And, as I watch him with a fond smile, I can’t help but be transported back to my own school-days in the ’90s. Curled up with my vinyl records, my bulky desktop computer, and my cats Peanutbutter & Jelly, those were some fascinating times.

A Trip Down Memory Lane: My ’90s School’s Out

As soon as that final bell of the year chimed, it was like the starting gun in a race we’d been training for all year. The hallways would fill with a tidal wave of students, rushing towards the finish line that was those double doors leading to freedom. The air would be filled with the loud chatter of summer plans, mixed with the faint scent of chalk dust. Yeah, chalk dust. Remember that? It’s practically fossil fuel now, but back then it was as much a part of the school as the teachers themselves.

Sharing mixtapes, an armful of borrowed books from the library and the anticipation of impending, unstructured time, they all added to the thrill of the moment. Contrary to the popular belief, the ’90s were not exclusively about grunge music and flannel shirts. It was also about eagerly waiting for dial-up internet to load your favorite webpage while your pet cat napped on the warm keyboard. The summer break was the perfect time to indulge in our passions without the looming specter of an assignment deadline.

Fast Forward to Today: His Last Day Before Summer Break

Flash forward to today, and my son’s last day of school looks a bit different. Yes, the excitement is still there, kind of like the original Star Wars trilogy, just with a little more CGI. The final bell still rings out like a beacon of freedom, but now, they’re swapping social media handles instead of mixtapes. The blackboard has been replaced with touch screens, and the chalk dust is now just a metaphor for the old school days.

His textbooks have been replaced by apps and e-books, and his summer will likely be filled with more Zoom hangouts than park meetups. His cat, unlike PB & J, is more likely to be found curled up in his hoodie than on a keyboard. And yes, as a dad, it’s a little unnerving. But hey, as Bob Dylan once crooned, “The times, they are a changin’.”

To his credit, he’s found ways to balance the digital deluge. He’s developed a retro streak, collecting vinyl records and indulging in an occasional black and white movie marathon. The universe has a funny way of repeating itself, or maybe it’s just the circle of life, vinyl-style.

So, as we bid adieu to another school year, it’s fascinating to compare our experiences. The ’90s were a time of discovery, of change, of bulky computers and vinyl records. Today, it’s a world of sleek tablets and streaming music. But despite the decades that separate our last days of school, I can’t help but notice the common thread that ties his experience to mine. The excitement, the anticipation, the promise of summer – some things, thankfully, never change. Here’s to the memories we’ve made, the ones we’re making, and to the summers that await us. The times might be a changin’, but the essence of that last school bell ring, it remains the same.

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