September Yin and Yang revisited


Plaid seemed to be the design of choice for a bookbag back in the day!


AGMA wants to write about September.  But I did that in a post in 2014.  And I pretty much think that it said what I want to say about September.

But this current September begged me to write about it again.  And I can’t say no.  I’m a sucker for September. So I’m ‘refreshing’ the 2014 post to a 2018 AGMA sensiblity.

“AGMA sensibility” seems like an oxymoron, right?

So here’s AGMA’s post from September 17th, 2014.  With a little tweaking and word ‘massaging’ that is…

Yeah, yeah – I know I’m a little late since it’s already past mid-September (back in 2014 it was.)  This is a post that really wanted to be written at the beginning of the month.  It begged me to be written.  But because it’s not my normal “wry humor” (and AGMA says that wryly…), I said no.

It’s been nagging me ever since.  It would not relent.

I gave up.

September’s a very special month to AGMA.  I always feels big changes in the air.  Aside from the changing leaves and temps, I can hear and smell the changes.

September is chance to start over. Brand new beginnings.  Most good and welcomed.

But not all.

September always means back to school.

As a child growing up in Pittsburgh in the late 50‘s/early 60’s, school didn’t start until after Labor Day.   AGMA was always excited to go back to school.  Not because I liked school, but because I couldn’t wait to see my friends again.

And back to school meant a new dress and a new pair of shoes for the fist day.

Getting a new dress was a big deal for me.  Due to divorce, AGMA lived in a single parent household – unusual for that time – and my mother was a nurse in a VA hospital.  There was never much money for new clothes.

Or new anything else.

But for the first day of school, not only would I get a new dress and shoes, but a new notebook, new pencils and a new bookbag.  For you young’uns, bookbags were the old school version of the modern backpack.  And ever so stylish…

It was a huge treat to go shopping with my mother.  She was always so busy all the time.  Between work and house maintenance and doing laundry and grocery shopping and cooking, we never had time just to hang out together. But for back to school shopping, we would ride a trolley to downtown Pittsburgh.   We’d shop at one of the big department stores – Hornes or Gimbels or Kaufmanns.  And then we’d eat lunch in a restaurant.  It was probably a Woolworth lunch counter, but to a little AGMA, it was fine dining!

Many years later, when my sons started school, I felt the same excitement going back to school shopping. We’d head out to the mall with the list of “suggested supplies” and shopped ’til we dropped!  The kids had fun, but I’m pretty sure that AGMA enjoyed it the most…

And September was always the beginning of another busy year of volunteering.  Because I only worked part-time in my IT job, I could volunteer at the kid’s school.  And volunteer I did!

Yeah – AGMA was one of ‘those’ moms.

All through their grade school, middle school and high school years, I volunteered.  AGMA was in PTA (president twice), helped out in their classrooms/computer labs, worked in the school bookstore and on after-prom, baked 1000’s of cookies, worked the school carnival, was a football, soccer and homeroom mom.  I even was the advisor of the Junior High Student Council for 2 years when it was in danger of being eliminated because no teacher wanted to be the advisor.

One of ‘those’ moms…

And AGMA loved every minute of it.

Now, every September, my heart and soul flood with the memories of those happy new beginnings as soon as I feel the chill starting in the air and hear the unique early morning sounds of September insects and see the leaves starting to strut their colors, .

But September also reminds AGMA that every season, of neccessity, comes to an end so a new one can begin.

And that very happy season in my life has ended.

My children have long been out of school.  Some of the children I used to read to in 1st grade in the late 1980’s are now PTA presidents, and homeroom & soccer parents.  And our high school PTA and after-prom committee and football boosters are now run by people whose children were just a twinkle in their eyes back when AGMA was involved.

I’ve more than adjusted to the empty nest over these past 18 years and have reinvented myself several times over.  Ya’ll know that I  stay pretty busy.  I became a massage therapist.  I travel. I run a little Ebay business. I’m a political activist. I run marathons.

I even started a blog.

But so far nothing has equaled the sheer joy and delight I had in parenting my kids when they were growing up.

September reminds me, sometimes cruelly, that time marches on.


Also, on a September day in 1965, my dear, sweet mother who worked so very hard to support my sister and I, died suddenly from undiagnosed pancreatic cancer.  She was two weeks shy of her 47th birthday.

AGMA had just started 7th grade.  After the funeral, I was shipped off to a new city in a new state to live with my father who I had barely seen since he moved away when I was six, and his new wife, who I’d never met.  I would never see the house I grew up in or any of my grade school or neighborhood friends again.

The smells and sounds and feelings of September remind me of new beginnings. And sometimes that new beginnings aren’t always welcome.

But they come anyway.

Then I sigh.  And remember.

And mostly smile.

25 thoughts on “September Yin and Yang revisited

  1. Nice memories, AGMA. Thanks for sharing them with us and for sparking a few of my own. My mother took me out to a lunch counter after the first day of school for a few years. We would get a slice of pie, or an ice cream sundae, and share my day.

    A moment in time that slipped away when I got older and her time away from work became harder to come by.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks much Shelley! Of course at the time I thought 47 was pretty old (but not dying old…), but now in my 60’s, I realize just how young she was. My older niece, her oldest grand child, will be 47 in a few months. Thinking about that is a bit mind blowing!


    • Thanks!! I think my mom would think so too (but moms are like that…) I think most of my clothes were hand me downs from my sister who is 6 years older. But I don’t think fashion changed much back then. I know my mother was a good seamstress (she used to make doll clothes for her oldest niece – my oldest cousin – when she was little.) Maybe she made some of my clothes too? I honestly don’t remember. But I do know that I would get a new outfit at Easter too.


  2. So many losses and drastic changes so close together for you. When I was about the same age my mother had to go into the hospital for some surgery and wouldn’t be there for the first day of school for me like she always had been. My older brother didn’t understand what the big deal was and why I was weepy about it, but my mother did. But, my mom came home and yours didn’t and you had to leave your home and friends on top of everything. I feel so bad for the little 7th grader that you were. I can’t imagine the pain you felt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Back then, there were no groups for grieving children like now. And my father was not one to tolerated a lot of show of emotion. I just had to ‘shut up, suck it up and deal with it’. It wasn’t until I went to a counselor in my 40’s that I realized just how traumatic it had all been and that it was okay to acknowledge it. And how much that trauma and the trauma of being fostered out at 18 months to friends of my parents, and then being taken away from them by my mother at 3 years old has shaped my life and my emotions. And my health. Studies have proven that children who experience significant trauma before the age of 16 (I think…) have all kinds of health issues as adults as a result of the chemical changes that trauma triggers in young, developing minds and bodies. That might explain the barrage of auto-immune issues I’ve been having along with some other things. Yuck.

      But you know, you really do have to keep on keeping on and do the best you can with what you have! I see my EMDR therapist when I need to, and try to move forward and smile and laugh and be thankful for what I do have – which is a BIGLY lot!! At least I got to go to my child’s wedding and meet my grandchildren – something my mother never got to do.

      Thank you for your sweet words and thoughts…

      How are you doing?


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