The Night Before the First Day of School

This post is in response to a writing prompt by Lorna at Gin & Lemonade. The prompt is “A Sepia Toned Fall Memory.” I let my mind wander while imagining a sepia-toned fall memory, and found myself thinking about my first day of school. Thanks for the memories, Lorna!

The Night Before the First Day of School

The year is 1954

it’s dark out, and it’s time for bed
the radio plays Autumn Leaves
by Papa’s favorite, Harry James

I’ve had my bath and brushed my teeth
my hair is washed, my nails are trimmed
my saddle shoes are clean and new
my raincoat’s hanging by the door

I’ve knelt beside my little bed
and said my prayers as I’ve been taught
and prayed the Lord my soul to keep
I’ve no idea what that means

I’ve had a bedtime story read
I’ve been tucked in and kissed goodnight
tomorrow I will go to school
but that’s another mystery

I listen to the crickets chirp
while in the living room below
my mother sews the buttons on
the dress that she has made for me

It’s brown plaid, with a pleated skirt
that’s long enough to last at least
‘til June if I don’t grow too fast
or she could just let out the hem

She’s placed a collar at the neck
its crisp white cotton edged with lace
like snowflakes on the autumn leaves
or frosting on my birthday cake

With every button that she adds,
with every stitch so straight and strong
she makes a wish that my first day
of school will be the perfect one

She smooths the wrinkles, ties the knots,
secures her hopes within the seams
prepares the fabric of my life
while upstairs, I am sound asleep.

18 thoughts on “The Night Before the First Day of School

  1. The year is 1954.
    My sister has not met me yet.
    Perhaps I am still a secret to all,
    Even the one who sits and sews
    a first day dress for her first born girl.
    Did I start to grow between one button
    sewn and the next?
    Did I dream of Autumn Leaves?
    Was I in my sister’s secret prayers?
    Could I sense the crickets chirp?
    Was her bedtime story secretly shared
    with me, the secret sister yet to be?

    Liked by 2 people

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