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Remembering Autumn

Just when I thought I’d seen enough crazy things, I walk into a store in September and see Christmas trees. Really! Could we enjoy orange fall decorations a while first?

Some of us are old enough to remember the wonderful autumns of our childhood—when those around us allowed it to last a while longer.

Remember when kids raked huge piles of leaves and then jumped in them? After we tired of that, we set them on fire and watched the smoke wisp lazily skyward. As we grew older, scientists told people they were giving off toxic fumes and burning was banned in some places. In the good old days, however, the smell of burning leaves became our signal that fall was here.

Remember when it was safe for kids everywhere to play outside in the dark? We would enjoy brisk fall air for as long as we could, then our moms called us inside for supper. Cold faces were part of fall’s ritual.

One of the best parts of autumn was seeing your breath hover in the air in the early morning as you waited for the school bus or walked to school. And in the early grades, if you had a drippy nose you wiped it on your coat sleeve because you probably didn’t carry a tissue. It didn’t bother your friends, because they all did the same-- except for the prissy girl down the road.

Remember preserving autumn leaves by ironing them between layers of waxed paper? We taped them to windows and they stayed there until the Pilgrim and Indian decorations went up.

Remember when all public schools celebrated Thanksgiving? The emphasis was on the pilgrims, instead of which football team was going to win.

Farm kids probably remember the way barn cats hung around the back door, waiting for table scraps on fall evenings. At our house, you stepped out the back door, yelled, "Heeerr, kitty, kitty, kitty!" and several hungry cats catapulted from the barn door to the house.

Your school probably had a fall festival in the gym., At ours, most grades had displays of artwork and sold baked goods. And you couldn’t wait to see all your friends, though you just spent the whole day at school with them.

Apple cider! It wouldn’t have been autumn without a visit to the apple orchard for a gallon of cider, in glass jugs. If your dad was like mine, he probably washed out the jug when it was empty and used it to hold lawn mower gas in summer.

Ah, yes. Autumn brings special memories for those fortunate enough to have lived through “the good old days.” I wonder what our grandchildren will remember when they get older.

What about you? Any fond memories of autumn from your childhood? Join the conversation below.

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