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September, 1959

September, 1959


The path began in the backyard of the house across the street and I followed it through the field alone as I walked to school on the first day of class in September of 1959. The path went down a hill and crossed a swale before it climbed a gentle incline and ended at the grass playground of the Bower’s Elementary School in Manchester, Connecticut. I was entering the fourth grade.

From where the path ended, I could see the long brown brick shape of the school that loomed in the distance on the top of a hill. On that warm and sunlit morning, I turned and sat down on the grass of the playground and cried like a baby, bawling away in despair over the loss of summer and what appeared to be the interminable process of grades and schooling that lay like an infinite dark path stretching out before me into the future. My time, my precious personal time, seemed so limited and fleeting when held up to life’s endless obligations and burdens.

Last night I awoke in Los Angeles at three in the morning and despite all my efforts could not get back to sleep. It was a September night in the year 2007. I lay in the dark of my bedroom and when I closed my eyes, the year was 1959 and I was nine years old again, sitting on the grass on a sunlit September morning before the first day of school, feeling the same despair.

Only this time there were no tears.